Grijalva to Zinke: Succeeding as Secretary Means Protecting Interior’s Mission and Budget, Staying True to Your Word on Public Lands

Washington, D.C. – Ranking Member Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) today urged newly confirmed Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to reject the White House’s threat to cut 10 percent from the Department of the Interior (DOI) budget in fiscal year 2018, to reject extreme proposals to give away millions of acres of public land to state and local entities, and to invest in the DOI mission of protecting our country’s natural resources.

“Happy talk about making this country great doesn’t make up for gutted agency budgets and constant Republican attacks on our public lands,” Grijalva said. “Secretary Zinke has made important promises to the millions of Americans who support and enjoy our natural open spaces, and I join them in expecting him to keep those promises.”

In a break with Chairman Rob Bishop (R-Utah) and other Republicans on the Natural Resources Committee, Zinke has indicated his opposition to state-level efforts to seize millions of acres of federally owned public land. Grijalva said he would watch Zinke’s actions as secretary closely on the issue.

Zinke will face an early test in his new role when he visits Utah – likely as early as next week – to hear from stakeholders at Bears Ears National Monument, where Bishop is lobbying Trump administration officials to rescind monument status using the Antiquities Act. As Grijalva laid out in a Feb. 26 op-ed in the Salt Lake Tribune, Bishop’s effort, which relies on a dubious and untested legal theory, underscores the fact that he has refused to offer a bill to revoke the monument’s status, likely because such a bill would be deeply unpopular in Utah and elsewhere.

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