Interior Department whistleblower resigns, calling Ryan Zinke’s leadership a failure

Fund Horse, US Flag and Capitol Dome. Vivian Grant Farrell.
Fund Horse, US Flag and Capitol Dome. Vivian Grant Farrell.

WASHINGTON, DC (via the Washington Post, Darryl Fears reporting, October 5, 2017) — An Interior Department executive turned whistleblower who claimed the Trump administration retaliated against him for publicly disclosing how climate change affects Alaska Native communities resigned Wednesday.

Joel Clement, a scientist and policy expert, was removed from his job by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke shortly after the disclosure and reassigned to an accounting position for which he has no experience. Clement was among dozens of senior executive service personnel who were quickly, and perhaps unlawfully, reassigned in June, but he was the only person who spoke out.

Interior’s inspector general is probing the reassignments to determine whether the process was legal. By law, executives are to be given ample notice of a job switch. Many of those reassigned say they were given no notice, according to attorneys who are representing some of the employees. The inspector general said Clement is on the list of employees being contacted, though Clement and his lawyer say that hasn’t happened in the more than two months since the evaluation launched.

An Interior Department executive turned whistleblower who claimed the Trump administration retaliated against him for publicly disclosing how climate change affects Alaska Native communities resigned Wednesday.

Joel Clement, a scientist and policy expert, was removed from his job by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke shortly after the disclosure and reassigned to an accounting position for which he has no experience. Clement was among dozens of senior executive service personnel who were quickly, and perhaps unlawfully, reassigned in June, but he was the only person who spoke out.

Interior’s inspector general is probing the reassignments to determine whether the process was legal. By law, executives are to be given ample notice of a job switch. Many of those reassigned say they were given no notice, according to attorneys who are representing some of the employees. The inspector general said Clement is on the list of employees being contacted, though Clement and his lawyer say that hasn’t happened in the more than two months since the evaluation launched.

Zinke is on a mission to cut 4,000 jobs at Interior in accordance with President Trump’s proposed 2018 budget. In a Senate committee hearing, Zinke said attrition and reassignments would be used as tools toward that goal, and said layoffs are possible if they don’t work. Continue reading »

The Bureau of Land Management, responsible for managing America’s wild horses and burros on public lands, is part of the Department of Interior who are planning to massacre them by the thousands.

Wild horse and burro advocate takes to Facebook live to save America’s national icon

R.T. Fitch. Image Source: Horseback Magazine.
R.T. Fitch. Image Source: Horseback Magazine.

STRAIGHT FROM THE HORSE’S HEART (R.T. Fitch) — Long time Wild Horse & Burro advocate and co-founder of Wild Horse Freedom Federation intends to speak to the release of their detailed and informative White Paper on the Bureau of Land Management’s Wild Horse & Burro Program, with a Focus on Problems Related to Holding Facilities.

Released just last Wednesday, the detailed report outlines years of deception initiated by the renegade federal agency who, to date, attempts to dissuade, delude and deceive the citizens of the United States and the very legislators that write the laws and control federal budgets.

“We have spent over five years gathering and cataloguing our evidence through FOIA and eyewitness accounts. We have actual BLM documents that the public and Congress have never reviewed; the evidence is damming by the BLM’s own account,” says R.T. Fitch. “What we present in the paper is only the tip of the iceberg and with the specter of the mindless murder of tens of thousands of wild horses and burros looming over the wild ones this information is critical and must be presented to the Senate and Congress, NOW! ”

R.T. intends to initiate his broadcast on Facebook July 29th at 5PM Eastern Time.

“I am, personally, treading into unknown technical territory as I have never done this before but we feel this is the best way to help to explain the current way forward in the fight to save our wild equines,” R.T. explained. “ We are just normal, stick-in-the throat, regular Americans doing our level best to make a difference. We hope our viewers will be able to look beyond any amateur fumbling; the point is that it is all about the wild horses & burros and we all need to take action and the time for that action is now”.


Please join R.T. as he speaks for the wild ones and, perhaps, field questions on
https://www.facebook.com/rtfitch at 5PM Eastern, today, July 29th, 2017


Keep the Faith.

Is Interior nominee Rep. Ryan Zinke good or bad for wild horses and burros?

WASHINGTON, DC — Continued mining and drilling on public lands is inevitable if Trump’s selection Ryan Zinke is appointed to head up the Department of Interior. However, there is a slight glimmer of hope. Zinke states he is in favor of good stewardship of the country’s public lands and is not in favor selling its acreage to States.

Let’s see about that.

Reuters reports:

Caslon Quote Left BlackRepresentative Ryan Zinke of Montana, President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for secretary of Interior sought to outline a measured approach to the job of managing America’s national parks, forests and tribal lands during a four-hour Senate confirmation hearing that was mostly cordial.

“Yes,” he said in response to a question from Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska about whether he would review drilling curbs imposed by President Barack Obama’s administration in her state, home to vast petroleum deposits both onshore and beneath Arctic waters.

“I can guarantee you it is better to produce energy domestically under reasonable regulation than overseas with no regulation … We need an economy.”

But he added he was committed to protecting sensitive wildlife habitats and to keeping federal lands under federal control to ensure they are preserved for future generations, so “my granddaughter’s children can look back and say that we did it right.”

The Interior Department oversees territories covering a fifth of the United States’ surface from the Arctic to the Gulf of Mexico, including rich deposits of oil, gas and coal and important pasturelands for ranchers.

Zinke, an avid hunter and angler, emerged as a surprise pick to head the department in part because he has embraced federal stewardship of public land, diverging from the Republican Party’s official position to sell off acreage to states. Read more »


Wired reports:

Caslon Quote Left BlackRyan Zinke wasted no time Tuesday in answering the biggest question looming over his Senate confirmation hearing: will he, or won’t he, sell off public lands as Secretary of the Interior?

Thirty minutes in he came right out and said it: “I am absolutely against transfer or sale of public land.”

But just because Zinke wants to keep public lands in public hands doesn’t mean he won’t also allow drilling and mining on them. That was the big takeaway from Tuesday’s testimony in front of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Read more »


Now that we have heard from a couple of news outlets on what Rep. Zilke has to say, let’s take a look at what his voting record has to say from Montana Democrats:

Caslon Quote Left Black
Zinke says: He supports Montana’s rich outdoor heritage. The record shows:

• Zinke Supported Plan to Sell Off Our Public Lands. In 2014, Zinke supports the budget by Rep. Paul Ryan which proposes paying off the national debt by selling public off our public lands. [Congressional GOP Debate, 5/28/14; Billings Gazette, 6/28/14]

• Zinke Pledged to Transfer Federal Lands to the State-Opening It Up to Privatization. In 2012, Zinke signed the Montana Constitutional Governance Pledge that included working to transfer federal lands to the state. Nearly 300 hunters and anglers protested possible transfer of lands, saying it would likely result in selling Montana’s lands to the highest bidder and close down access. [Polymontana, 5/04/12; Montana Constitutional Pledge, 5/04/12; Independent Record, 9/27/14]

• Zinke Opposes North Fork Protection Act.In 2014, Ryan Zinke said he opposed the North Fork Protection Act, saying “Up front, I didn’t like the North Fork basin bill either, and I like Steve, you know we all love Steve but I didn’t like that bill either because it took natural development out for perpetuity forever.” [GCRW, 5/21/14; Intelligent Discontent, 8/22/14]

• Zinke Supports a “Land Grab” Bill That Opens Unprecedented Development on Public Lands. Zinke supports a DC written bill that would turn over Montana’s public lands to out-of-state developers and jeopardize access to hunting and fishing.. [Billings Gazette, 8/31/14; Bozeman Daily Chronicle, 2/17/14; KPAX, 1/15/14]

• Zinke Received a 0% Rating from the Montana Sportsmen Alliance. In 2011, Zinke received a 0% rating from the Montana Sportsmen Alliance that fight for the interests of Montana’s hunters and anglers. [Montana Sportsmen Alliance, 2011 Scorecard]

• Zinke Voted to Block Access to More Fishing, Hunting and State Parks.In 2011, Zinke voted to stop the state Fish, Wildlife and Parks department from purchasing more land, which increases access to fishing, hunting, and state parks. [SB 301, 2/24/11; Montana Sportsmen Alliance, 2011 Scorecard]

• Zinke Voted to Destroy the Habitat program, Privatizing and Commercializing Wildlife and Hunting Opportunities. In 2011, Zinke voted for a bill that would effectively destroy the Habitat Montana program, privatizing and commercializing wildlife and hunting opportunities. The bill reduced funding for the Habitat Montana program by 30% over a four year period, cutting in half the dollars available for the purchase of access for hunting. [HB 209, 4/11/11; Veto, 5/10/11; Montana Sportsmen Alliance, 2011 Scorecard]

• Zinke Voted to Commercialize Hunting in Montana and Allow Non-Residents Hunters More Access. In 2011, Zinke voted for legislation that would add 2,000 more non-resident wilderness deer/elk combo licenses that would result in 2,000 more nonresident hunters competing with resident hunters, more commercialization, more roads closed and more land unavailable to resident hunters. [SB 400, 3/30/11; Montana Sportsmen Alliance, 2011 Scorecard]
Read more »


Newsweek reports:

Caslon Quote Left BlackEnvironmental groups for the most part are predictably despondent about the nomination. The League of Conservation Voters gives Zinke a 3 percent rating on his congressional record. Read more »

That glimmer of hope just flickered out.

IMAGE CREDIT
Rep. Ryan Zinke, Reuters.