Before starting his job as Trump's Interior Secretary, Ryan Zinke, a former U.S. representative from Montana, sold himself as a rugged Teddy Roosevelt conservationist. But a year later, Zinke has proven that he is no friend to wildlands.
As with his boss, we're ready to call it: Ryan Zinke is the worst Interior secretary ever. To give a sense of how bad he has been, we chose a non-exhaustive list of 14 misdeeds since he started the job on March 1, 2017.
The agency had suspended the 2016 rule, meant to cut the waste of natural gas on public lands created by venting, flaring and accidental leaks, in January 2017 following the orders of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.
However, the battle over regulating methane is not over.
Paleontologists say that their work studying the history of life on earth, including a recent discovery in former Bears Ears National Monument, is jeopardized by policies that strip away protections for public lands.
Until March 19, the public can formally weigh in on the process by which the government is opening Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments to mining, reckless off-road vehicle use and other damaging activities.
By our admittedly subjective criteria, incorporating both the conservation standards of their times and the precedents set by their administrations’ words and deeds, these are the White House’s most prominent champions of public lands.
Oil, gas, coal and other fossil fuel interests stand to benefit from Trump's latest proposals in the form of relaxed regulations and priority status afforded to operations on public lands; Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke would also gain sole authority to approve oil and gas pipelines through national parks.
As part of a budget proposal that amounts to a Valentine to special interests, the Trump administration wants devastating cuts to the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which has been called America's most important conservation tool.