December 15, 2018
Contact: Amy Kober, 503-708-1145
Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke resigned today after a tenure marked by ethics investigations and attacks on the nation’s public lands and waters. Under Secretary Zinke’s leadership, the Department of the Interior consistently put the desires of oil, gas and mining companies above the interests of the American people and the lands and waters on which the nation’s communities depend.
Secretary Zinke pushed to increase oil and gas development on public lands including in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. He shrank protections for Bears Ears and Grand Staircase – Escalante National Monuments. He overturned President Obama’s moratorium on coal mining on public lands. Secretary Zinke tried to raise National Park entrance fees, which would have made them less accessible for many families. He tried to fast-track a mining proposal threatening Minnesota’s Boundary Waters, which American Rivers named among America’s Most Endangered Rivers® of 2018. Secretary Zinke’s Interior Department suppressed climate science and omitted climate change from key planning efforts.
In addition, the Secretary has been mired in ethics scandals. The Justice Department has been investigating Secretary Zinke for possibly using his office for personal financial gain.
American Rivers President Bob Irvin released the following statement:
“Secretary Zinke failed in carrying out his duty to protect public lands, clean water, and fish and wildlife. We can only hope that whoever is appointed next will take seriously the obligation to be the chief steward of our nation’s rivers and other precious natural resources.”