As a Montanan, I get tired of apologizing for the actions of the guys back in DC who have lost touch with the west. Greg Gianforte is the typical guilty party, but of late it has been mostly Secretary Ryan Zinke. Last week we found out he is mysteriously not allowing some outlets on conference calls who tell the truth about his comically terrible fishing skills. This assault on the free press is atrocious but is symptomatic of a larger problem. Ryan Zinke is unconcerned with facts, he wants to tell his own truths and pretends that his failings don’t exist.
Zinke is willing to forego the normal processes of a democratic government to avoid criticism and he is willing to take unprecedented steps to serve the will of President Trump in shrinking National Monuments. Now Secretary Zinke has disregarded years of work and a thoughtful approach as he put a halt to the North Cascade grizzly recovery work.
The Billings Gazette reported:
“There’s been a lot of really positive work taken by the (National) Park Service and FWS,” Cotton told the committee members. “Don’t disregard all those public meetings, and the significant support for restoring grizzlies in the North Cascades.”
Well, Secretary Zinke has decided to disregard all that work and has put a halt to continued efforts to restore the endangered grizzly bear in the North Cascades.
The Billings Gazette article details the work that is being halted:
North Cascades National Park Superintendent Karen Taylor-Goodrich told the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee on Wednesday that her staff had been asked to stop work on its environmental impact statement by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s office.
“We were in the process of evaluating public comment,” Taylor-Goodrich said of the stop order. “We’re in year three of the process and all the public scoping has been done. The draft EIS went out for public review in spring and we’ve received about 127,000 comments.”
This most likely means that Secretary Zinke has chosen to forego the EIS and will be de-listing the grizzly without sound scientific advice or listening to the public.
This aberrant decision-making and lack of respect for the process of a possible grizzly de-listing shows us that Secretary Zinke has chosen to follow orders from the top and prance around in DC on his horse with Vice-President Pence rather than listen to westerners on the ground and comments of the American public.