Mixed Record Could put Parks, Public Lands at Risk
WASHINGTON – Below is a statement by Theresa Pierno, President and CEO of National Parks Conservation Association, following the Senate’s confirmation of Montana Rep. Ryan Zinke as the next Secretary of the Interior.
“Secretary Zinke is inheriting a National Park System that is more expansive, diverse and reflective of the American story than ever before. But it’s also a system facing many challenges. During his confirmation hearing, Secretary Zinke described himself as a ‘Theodore Roosevelt’ Republican, and pledged to make park issues a focus of his tenure, including tackling the National Park Service’s $12 billion maintenance backlog and keeping rangers on the job.
“His opposition to selling off federal lands and support for the Land and Water Conservation Fund represent a commitment to the conservation legacy of Theodore Roosevelt; however, his advocacy for greater state control of energy development on federal lands, votes against Endangered Species Act protections and expressed willingness to review past national park site designations could threaten that legacy.
“Nearly 15,000 supporters joined NPCA in encouraging Secretary Zinke to support our national parks as they enter their second century. In his new role, Mr. Zinke must maintain his commitment to park rangers and improving park infrastructure, continue water restoration efforts in places like Everglades and Chesapeake Bay, support our nation’s Heritage Areas with robust funding and better legislative guidance, protect wildlife and lands adjacent to parks, and continue to preserve America’s evolving story in our national parks.
“It’s critical that Secretary Zinke prioritize the protection and defense of our national parks, with recognition of their immense benefits to our nation’s natural resources and cultural history.”
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About National Parks Conservation Association
Since 1919, the nonpartisan has been the leading voice in safeguarding our national parks. NPCA and its more than 1.2 million supporters work together to protect and preserve our nation’s natural, historical, and cultural heritage for future generations. For more information, visit www.npca.org.