Interior Secretary Must Prioritize River Conservation

December 14, 2016

December 14, 2016
Contact: Amy Kober, 503-708-1145

Washington, DC – President-elect Donald Trump has selected Rep. Ryan Zinke (R-MT) as his nominee for Secretary of the Interior, to oversee conservation and management of thousands of miles of rivers and 500 million acres of public lands including national parks, wildlife refuges and the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System.

Bob Irvin, President of American Rivers, made the following statement:

“Of the short list of finalists who President-elect Trump was reportedly considering for Secretary of the Interior, we believe Rep. Zinke has the most balanced track record when it comes to conserving our nation’s lands, waters and wildlife. We are encouraged by the fact that he has opposed transferring federal public lands to the states, supported permanent reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund, and fought to protect East Rosebud Creek as Montana’s first new Wild and Scenic River in 40 years. However, we have serious concerns about some of the views he has expressed on expanding logging, mining, and oil and gas drilling on our public lands, and we are disappointed that he has consistently opposed efforts to restore protections for clean water and combat climate change.”

“The Secretary of the Interior plays a crucial role in the management of our nation’s rivers and water supplies. Our next Secretary of the Interior must prioritize the protection and restoration of rivers nationwide. Rivers provide clean drinking water for two-thirds of Americans. They are economic engines for local businesses, and backyard escapes for families to experience the joy of the outdoors. As an angler, Rep. Zinke knows this firsthand.”

“Important river restoration and water supply agreements such as those on the Klamath, San Joaquin, and Colorado are at stake, along with the health of thousands of miles of rivers and streams nationwide. With drought gripping western states, wild salmon runs on the brink of extinction in the Columbia and Snake rivers, and climate change threatening local communities and economies nationwide, we need a Secretary of the Interior who will prioritize restoration, protection and stewardship of our nation’s natural resources.”

“With the 50th anniversary of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act approaching in 2018, American Rivers is committed to protecting and defending our nation’s free-flowing, wild rivers. If confirmed, we look forward to working with Secretary Zinke to safeguard more Wild and Scenic Rivers for the benefit of all Americans.”


American Rivers protects wild rivers, restores damaged rivers and conserves clean water for people and nature. Since 1973, American Rivers has protected and restored more than 150,000 miles of rivers through advocacy efforts, on-the-ground projects and an annual America’s Most Endangered Rivers® campaign. Headquartered in Washington, DC, American Rivers has offices across the country and more than 250,000 members, supporters and volunteers.

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