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The last of Zinke - and the horse he rode in on.....leaving Interior Department

London mounted guard, London, England

(Above: Not Ryan Zinke)

Every change of administration from one political party to the next brings cautious concern over the new directions in store for various government agencies and federal policies. But Ryan Zinke's relatively short tenure as US Secretary of the Interior is perhaps unprecedented in that regard in terms of his effects on the department's direction. With the primary mission of promoting conservation - the "wise use" of federal lands and the resources contained within them - the US Department of the Interior oversees national parks, national monuments, historic sites, federal forests, and millions of acres of other federal properties with various levels of protection for the natural and cultural resources under its management. Importantly, Interior is also charged with administering federal programs for Native Americans, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians and other groups.

But after Zinke rode to his new office at Interior in Washington, DC on his first day in early 2017- on a horse named Tonto (natch) - one could be forgiven for mistaking him for (melo)dramatically announcing a new modern gold rush. Zinke immediately began re-orienting the Interior Department to focus on opening up broad areas of federal lands to new oil and gas leases, including by drastically reducing the size of two national monuments - Bears Ears and Grand Staircase - Escalante (both in Utah) - to allow for new oil and gas leases (among other things). In addition to his decidedly anti-environmental approach to federal land management, Zinke also ushered in a virtual baker's dozen of federal investigations, at least one of which has been referred to the Department of Justice for criminal review.

In light of Zinke's impending departure (conveniently scheduled just prior to the seating of the new Congress in which the Democrats will be in the majority), feel free to gawk at the gall of one of our current (if only for just a short time longer) public servants.


Interior Secretary Zinke resigns amid investigations

By Juliet Elperin, Josh Dawsey, and Darrell Fears

The Washington Post

December 15, 2018

Ryan Zinke's most lasting failure

By Collin O'Mara

The Washington Post

December 16, 2018

How Ryan Zinke shifted Interior Department policy

By Courtney Vinopal

December 17, 2018

Ryan Zinke's Disregard for the Environment Was the Real Scandal

By Jay Michaelson

The Daily Beast

December 16, 2018

A Guide to the Ryan Zinke Investigations

By Lisa Friedman

The New York Times

October 31, 2018

Ryan Zinke's Legal Troubles Are Far From Over

By Julie Turkewitz

The New York Times

December 16, 2018

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