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Zinke Argues for Balance Between Nat'l Monuments & Economic Development

by Countable | 6.19.17

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, whose agency is responsible for management of one-fifth of U.S. territoy, believes that resources on federal lands can and should be leveraged to make the U.S. a dominant force in global energy markets.

Zinke was in New England last week, continuing his tour of national monuments. In an interview Friday in Boston with Reuters he argued for opening up more federal lands for oil and mining development in pursuit of energy dominance:

"Energy dominance gives us the ability to supply our allies with energy, as well as to leverage our aggressors, or in some cases our enemies, like Iran."

The tour and review of national monuments that Zinke is in the midst of was mandated by an executive order issued in late April. The order called for a review of all national monument designations over 100,000 acres made since 1990. Last week Zinke submitted the first report in response to the order, calling for a reduction in the size of Bears Ears National Monument in Utah.

In Boston, Zinke was meeting with officials and scientists from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and New England Aquarium, followed by a roundtable discussion with commercial fishermen. The focus was the 4,913 square mile Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument off the coast of Massachusetts – which is roughly three times the size of Montana’s Glacier National Park. While in New England Zinke also met with officials to solicit opinions on Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument in Maine.

Zinke stated that he is likely to take the same tack with these national monuments as he did with Bears Ears, arguing for shrinking the monuments’ acreage. That would also include arranging for less stringent federal management and protection for the surrounding areas.

Reuters noted that during his meetings with officials Zinke argued "the Interior Department now makes around $15.5 billion per year less in revenue from offshore drilling than it did in 2008 due to Obama-era restrictions."

Zinke told Reuters the administration believes environmental concerns must be balanced against impacts on industry and jobs. He hopes to use the revenue gained from resource development in part to fund much-needed improvements to America’s national parks:

"there are legitimate scientific endeavors and research that are recognized and important (around the site), but there are also recognized livelihoods, fishing jobs that are also important... If you don’t have an economy you can’t afford to put in the environmental protections you need."

Should the federal government open up lands previously protected under national monument designation for energy development, like drilling and mining? Use the Take Action button to tell your reps what you think!

— Asha Sanaker

(Photo Credit: Whit Welles via Wikimedia / Creative Commons)

Countable

Written by Countable

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(98)
  • Dean
    06/20/2017
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    Ultimately, the greatest economic development the Trump administration could do is leave these monuments in place. These places become economic hotspots based on tourism and recreation. The local economies strive in the monument environment. Let's not play the economic development game, we all know what Zinke and the Trump administration means by economic development...special interests, namely corporate resource extraction and development. The corporate players support the Trump administration while paying lip service to the local economy.

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  • Christian
    06/20/2017
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    This is such a bullshit statement. Federally protected and managed lands only make up 14% of the entire land mass of the United States. They are not inhibiting economic growth within the country. They are not limiting our ability to be competitive globally. They are desired by zealous greedy money hoarders who are seeking to profit from the exploitation of our remaining national resources. Already the Department of Forestry manages our national forests by cutting down trees at a loss to the United States taxpayer. That's right...we lose money by selling off trees to logging companies at ridiculously low prices so that they can make large sums of money on the backs of American workers. It's disgusting how little self respect we have and how little respect for the remaining wild places we have left in our nation. This is merely a reflection of how this administration continues to put profits and big business ahead of people in direct opposition to their campaign promises. Just remember: these lands take up 14% of our country.

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  • Jeff
    06/20/2017
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    Do not take action against our public lands and national monuments. We as America are in a unique position in the world to have such natural areas to enjoy. Future generations need the opportunity to experience these things first hand, not from a history book.

    Like (26)
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  • S
    06/20/2017
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    Preserve our national lands. They are the last of unspoiled America. In this age of mayhem and acrimony we need these reminders of peace. Nothing supersedes this. Coal ripped our country to shreds, oil and gas proliferate our lands. Keep something pristine for God's sake not to mention loss of jobs and loss of income for the area communities. Some of these lands are sacred to Native Americans. Are we to continue trampling their rights as we did in the 1800's? Leave all these lands at peace. Company profits can't be our moral compass.

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  • Marilyn
    06/20/2017
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    Memorials cannot replaced once they are removed or sold to private industry. We have only one chance to protect our lands from greedy people who are only concerned with raping the land and stealing the minerals, oil or natural gas.

    Like (16)
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  • Maia
    06/20/2017
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    There can never be a balance. Development doesn't stop. As time goes on, these people will see the need for further "economic development." We are already out of balance; the natural world is suffering, and even if you don't feel that suffering now, you will. Don't be so near-sighted.

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  • Brian
    06/20/2017
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    Republican = rape and pillage the environment and dam future generations just so my pockets are full people over party!

    Like (10)
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  • Lori
    06/20/2017
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    Please protect our parks, monuments, and public lands.

    Like (10)
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  • Lynne
    06/20/2017
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    Not everything should be for sale. These areas represent quality of life for the American people. Please protect them.

    Like (9)
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  • Vanessa
    06/20/2017
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    There is no reason to do anything to our National Monuments. These are treasures that should be protected for generations to come.

    Like (8)
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  • Judith
    06/20/2017
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    PROTECT ALL OF OUR NATIONAL MONUMENTS AND PUBLIC LANDS FOR THE SAKE OF THE SURVIVAL OF HUMANITY !!! BALANCE BETWEEN ENVIRONMENTAL PLANETARY NEEDS AND REQUIREMENTS AND ECONOMIC NEEDS AND REQUIREMENTS MUST EXIST !!!!! WITH ENVIRONMENTAL NEEDS AND REQUIREMENTS PREDOMINATING !!!!!!! FOR THE SIMPLE REASON THAT, WITHOUT A FUNCTIONAL ENVIRONMENT, DEATH TO ALL IS A CERTAINTY !!!!!!!!

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  • Ticktock
    06/20/2017
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    Yes says Wiley Coyote as he gets ready to rape, pillage and burn our, US citizens, lands. Republicans want cash return on our public lands short term for themselves rather than seeing, not that they care, the value of public lands long term for US citizens. There have already been several attempt by wealthy land owners to shave away public lands for their own benefit. Leave the public lands alone. We're not interested in your selfish, self centered motives. Vote No!

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  • WaterHopsBarley
    06/20/2017
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    This country's greedy oil executives will do literally anything to line their pockets. Our economy is not tied to the protection or lack thereof of National Parks. The future is in renewable energy – costs are dropping and more people are employed today than ever in renewable industries. The danger we inflict upon ourselves is endless war for the acquisition of oil. These oil execs and the politicians they own will be the ones who ruin the economy. Hamster wheel STOP!

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  • Grant
    06/20/2017
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    In no way should national parks or monuments be used for anything other than preservation of natural resources. To open these areas up to energy exploration would be short-sighted in an evolving energy sector. We should be preparing for clean energy solutions!

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  • Jim2423
    06/20/2017
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    I agree we should protect our public lands. On the other hand so much if it goes to waste and yet we have to pay employees and maintenance fees on top of that. Lots of companies could utilize this land, with major regulations, and could profit and pay not only to use the land but wages and taxes. Common sense says save what we have but don't let it sit idle. This can be done safely and conservatively. We have the resources to do both. Why not be the world leader in protected land monuments and also leader in world resources.

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  • Barbara
    06/20/2017
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    How can there be a balance between national monuments and development? When our national parks are sold, there is no balance. These are not baseball fields. And oil and mining rob us of the significance of these treasures as well as devastate the landscape and pollute our environment. What a boon to outdated, outmoded industries!

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  • KansasTamale
    06/20/2017
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    Was afraid, but pretty sure this was going to happen. The RICH MONEY GRUBBERS who are in Trump's cabinet do NOT CARE ONE WHIT about the Beauties & Ecological importance if our National Lands. All they are about is putting more money in their and the top 1% s pockets. They don't care about education of our children. They don't care about the moms & kids that need nutritional help. They don't care about the people who are working for the minimum wage of $7.50 ( the minimum wage in 1996 was $5.25 - 20 years and only a $2.00 an hour raise???). They don't care about our environment. They don't care about people in this country having affordable, available healthcare. Why would these mean hearted, greedy old white men care about our National Lands. Our parks & Lands are OURS, NOT UP FOR SALE TO THE HIGHEST BIDDER. That's only part of it. The companies who would take the minerals, oil or whatever out of our lands will Destroy the land & leave it a pile of destruction, OUR LANDS WOULD NEVER BE THE SAME. We have the Forestry. Service which is in charge of OUR LANDS. THEY DO AN EXCELLENT JOB. No changes need be made. SAVE OUR NATIONAL LANDS.

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  • PLD
    06/20/2017
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    Please preserve our National Parks for future generations and because of their sacred standing to Native Americans. Look at the impact of business on our environment; we've already paid too much!!!

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  • Langho
    06/20/2017
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    Leave our monuments and I have wildlife heritage alone and protect him. Keep in mind that you have to be voted back in

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  • Vincent
    06/21/2017
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    The shareholder class will extract all the resources they can lay their hands on and leave the rest of us with the clean up costs. Assuming they leave anything worth cleaning.

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