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Print, TV ad campaign launches in CO, MT, NV, and WY pushing pack against Secretary Zinke’s review of BLM’s Sage-Grouse Plans

Campaign timed to coincide with the Western Governors’ Association meeting in Montana We launched a six-figure TV, digital, and print campaign in Colorado, Montana, Nevada, and Wyoming in advance of the Western Governors’ Association (WGA) annual meeting in Montana. The ads push back against Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke’s recent Secretarial Order to review […]

TRUMP FACT CHECK: Federal public lands already belong to federal taxpayers

Manhattan real estate developer confused over ownership of nation’s public lands President Donald Trump told a crowd of supporters in Iowa that he would “‘end the last administration’s land grab’” – an apparent reference to his administration’s push to end protections for threatened landscapes, such as the Bears Ears area of Utah. “The Western Values […]

VIDEO: Acting Interior #2 admits regulatory review was over before it started

Top official concedes 2/3rds of rules were slated to be axed months before review was announced Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke announced a sweeping review of the department’s rules that could have serious impacts on public lands users and local economies throughout the West. But Acting Deputy Secretary James Cason admitted to an industry […]

ICYMI: Secretary Zinke aims to kill 4,000 jobs at Interior

Secretary of the Interior goes on the record to Congress to demand massive cuts In written testimony submitted to the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke called for eliminating 4,000 department employees. Chris Saeger, Executive Director of the Western Values Project, had this to say about the cuts: Secretary […]

ICYMI: Potential pick for BLM chief a Bundy family sympathizer

Karen Budd-Falen on the Bundy family’s violent takeover of public lands: “you’re going to see more of that because we’re not left with any choice.” Another former Trump transition team member with extreme political views has been floated for a high-level position at the Department of Interior. E&E News reported that Karen Budd-Falen, a Wyoming […]

Secretary Zinke’s imagined “review” of Bears Ears

Recommendation on fate of area to come after over one hundred thousand public comments supporting national monuments submitted As we celebrate the 111th anniversary of former President Teddy Roosevelt’s hallmark piece of legislation, the Antiquities Act, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke and President Donald Trump are orchestrating an unprecedented attack on the iconic conservationist’s […]

In Congressional hearing, Zinke defends budget that would slash funding for public lands

Draconian budget cuts proposed by Zinke and Trump come along with proposals to reduce or eliminate public lands, sell off parks Today, in front of the House Appropriations Committee, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke advocated for draconian budget cuts that would undermine our national parks, public lands, and local access funds. The budget proposal […]

Senate committee taps oil and gas lobbyist for number two spot at Interior

On a mostly party-line vote of 14-9, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee advanced the nomination of oil and gas lobbyist David Bernhardt to be the Deputy Secretary of the Interior. This comes following reports that Bernhardt is refusing to comply with ethics disclosures, despite having one of the longest lists of conflicts of […]

ICYMI: Largest paper in Montana calls out Sec. Zinke on Interior cuts

After the Trump administration announced devastating budget cuts to America’s National Park Service and the agencies tasked with managing our public lands, the largest paper in Montana, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s home state, chastised him for failing to keep his promises. The Billings Gazette editorial board said of the proposed cuts: “We have to go […]

WVP files lawsuit after DOI fails to release public records on Bears Ears 

Government accountability watchdog Western Values Project (WVP) today filed suit in federal court to force the release of documents from the Obama administration’s deliberations over the Bears Ears National Monument, among others. At President Trump’s direction, the Department of the Interior is considering reversing Bears Ears and other monument declarations, based in part on the […]

Zinke fails to “fight” for a better budget, praises cuts as eliminating “wasteful spending

Today, the Trump administration released a 2018 budget request that would gut funding for agencies that manage and protect our nation’s public lands. The proposal would slash the Interior Department’s budget by nearly 11 percent, or 1.5 billion. When the initial budget proposal was released in March, Secretary Zinke vowed to fight drastic cuts to his […]

Update: News report confirms Secretary Zinke’s sham review of Bears Ears

After Utah Senator Mike Lee declared that Bears Ears monument will be eliminated or “significantly” reduced in size, E&E news is reporting that Zinke told anti-public lands critics that he’ll recommend a full repeal to President Trump. Lawbreaking anti-public land zealot and San Juan County Commissioner Phil Lyman had this to say: “He [Zinke] said, ‘Well, let […]

ICYMI: FOIAs show Zinke cozying up to special interests

The Washington Post is reporting that Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s “personal schedule shows industry chiefs have frequent access” to the secretary. More from the story: Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke spent much of his first two months in office meeting with energy and other industry groups, according to personal schedules released this week under the Freedom […]

Lobbyist Bernhardt hides history of pandering to special interests

Bush administration official-turned lobbyist obscures past mishandling of ethical missteps and cozying up to special interests in government role Nominee for Deputy Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt’s rocky path back through the revolving door continued as he bristled under tough questions about his past as a lobbyist and top official during some of the […]

Will Murkowski and Senate Committee Members hold lobbyist Bernhardt accountable during confirmation hearing?

Western Values Project Launches Ad Campaign Calling On Murkowski To Do Her Job, Ask The Tough Questions During Hearing Today, Western Values Project is running a full-page ad in Politico calling on Senator Murkowski, Chair of the Senate Committee on Energy & Natural Resources, to do her job and ask critically important questions at today’s […]

Is Interior’s monuments review a sham or is Secretary Zinke making promises he can’t keep?

Utah Senator Mike Lee claims Bears Ears will be eliminated or “significantly” reduced In shockingly matter-of-fact comments, Utah Senator Mike Lee said during a tele-town hall that Bears Ears monument will be eliminated or “significantly” reduced in size. These surprising comments come as the Department of the Interior (DOI) is still gathering public comments and […]

Hypocrisy Alert: After faux outrage over lack of public input, Sec. Zinke cancels citizen councils, silencing public input

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke canceled all Resource Advisory Council (RAC) meetings – an essential opportunity for the public to provide input on public lands. The move comes after a chorus of faux outrage from Secretary Zinke and Congressional Republicans who have falsely claimed that the previous administration failed to consider public input before making national monument […]

ICYMI: Sec. Zinke’s Rocky Utah Vacation

Zinke All Ears to Anti-Public Lands Extremists, Refuses to Hold Public Meetings on So-Called “Listening Tour” Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s taxpayer-funded tour of Utah’s national monuments this week was more of a scenic vacation than legitimate ‘listening tour.’ The photo-ops on horseback were dominated by anti-public lands extremists, closed-door meetings, and blunders. While Zinke claimed […]

WVP statement on Senate’s courage on BLM rule sends a message to special interests

Chris Saeger, Executive Director of the Western Values Project, released the following statement in response to the Senate’s refusal to advance a plan to reject the Bureau of Land Management’s rule to combat wasted natural gas and tax dollars on public lands: “Every Senator who voted against this plan deserves our thanks for standing up […]

ICYMI: After Ignoring Local Tribes, Sec. Zinke Snaps At Woman Requesting Meeting

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s “listening tour” continues to be met with protesters and locals wondering who exactly he is “listening” to. During his visit to Bears Ears yesterday, Secretary Zinke was asked when he would meet with tribal leaders. His response? “Be nice,” he told the young woman as he wagged his finger in his […]

Western Values Project Files FOIA for Portman Communications Ahead of Vote on Methane Rule

Includes Former Registered Lobbyist for Industry Turned Portman Staffer Portman FOIA (Methane Rule) Western Values Project filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for all communications between the Department of Interior and Senator Portman’s Office, including communications with a former registered lobbyist for American’s Natural Gas Alliance turned Portman staffer. The request comes after […]

Zinke “Political Stunt” Tour to Advance Anti-Public Lands Agenda Off to Rough Start

As Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke visits Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments this week, Western Values Project Executive Director Chris Saeger released the following statement: “Secretary Zinke’s photo op on horseback is yet another political stunt in his campaign to advance an anti-public lands agenda. But even the best photo op can’t hide the […]

Congressional Committee Promotes “Alternative Facts” In Hearing On National Monuments

Today, the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Federal Lands held a hearing to present “alternative facts” in support of efforts to reduce or eliminate public lands. The hearing follows President Trump’s executive order calling on Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to conduct a review of national monument designations made under the Antiquities Act made since January […]

ICYMI: Congressional Budget Compromise: One Small Step Forward, One Big Step Back for Conservation Efforts

Congress provides for Greater Sage-grouse Conservation; Reduces Funding for Popular Bipartisan Land and Water Conservation Fund The recent budget compromise to fund the government for the next five months increases funding for the greater sage-grouse conservation activities by $8.9 million. This increase makes clear that Congress has acknowledged the importance of this initiative, calling on […]

Land seizure leader invited to Trump’s anti-monuments announcement

A top leader in the land seizure movement was invited to the White House for the announcement of President Trump’s sham review of national monument designations, according to the Elko Daily Free Press: After the signing ceremony Wednesday, [Demar Dahl] was invited to the Eisenhower Office Building to meet with administration officials to discuss his thoughts on […]

Trump’s First 100 Days: A top ten list of public land attacks, cronyism, ethical failures & irresponsible energy policies

Number 1: Trump & Zinke Aim to Kill Teddy’s Legacy It was 110 years, 10 months, and 20 days ago Teddy Roosevelt signed one of his hallmark pieces of legislation, the Antiquities Act, that protected millions of acres of public land, cultural history, historic places, and important artifacts from decades of looting, desecration, and destruction. […]

Statement on Scandal Plagued DOI Deputy Secretary Nomination Bernhardt

Chris Saeger, Executive Director of the Western Values Project released the following statement in response to news that David Bernhardt has been nominated as Deputy Secretary of the Interior: “There are a million reasons why David Bernhardt shouldn’t get this job, and even more questions about his previous tenure at Interior, and in the private […]

Zinke/Trump Attack on Public Lands Silences Rural America

During the White House press briefing on President Trump’s executive order to review national monuments, Secretary Zinke was called out over the positive economic impacts of public lands and national monuments in this administration’s latest attack on rural America. “Zinke’s and Trump’s reckless order to review National Monuments will lead to shrinking and even possibly […]

Roosevelt fanboy Zinke poised to gut landmark Roosevelt legislation

Chris Saeger, Executive Director of the Western Values Project, released the following statement in response to reports that the Trump administration intends to review recent designations of national monuments: “Secretary Zinke is apparently a willing pawn in a Manhattan real estate developer’s plan to open up iconic landscapes to drilling and mining. We’ve got a […]

ICYMI: Nevada Lands Council Board Member Buzzetti Laments Chinese; Makes Derogatory Comments

During an appearance on the Trent Loos Podcast, Rachel Buzzetti, one of the top leaders of the Nevada Lands Council (NLC), lamented that Chinese people own land near Yellowstone and made derogatory comments about Chinese tourism. Here’s what she had to say: Buzzetti: “…We were visiting a little more and they [locals who live in […]

Potential Trump pick for top post a peddler of fake news

Donald Trump’s rumored top pick to run the Council on Environmental Quality’s is the author of a wholly unfounded claim that has been used repeatedly to justify excessive oil and gas development on American public lands. Kathleen Hartnett White is a former environmental regulator in Texas Governor Rick Perry’s administration. CEQ has wide influence over […]

BLM plans fail to meet Roosevelt test

Plans for Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke’s Bureau of Land Management just surfaced in Energy and Environment and the news isn’t good for anyone hoping the Bureau would take a truly balanced approach to public land management. The plans are long on border security and fossil energy development, but short on conservation priorities that […]

Zinke adds proponent of pipelines in parks to Teddy Roosevelt all-stars

Secretary of the Interior and self-proclaimed “Teddy Roosevelt conservationist” Ryan Zinke has just named another bona fide member of the Washington DC special interests swamp to a top position at the Department of the Interior — the latest in a long line of Washington insiders to join the Trump administration.   Kate MacGregor, a former lobbyist, […]

Top Oregon legal officials see no case to sue for national lands

According to information obtained through public records requests of members of the Conference of Western Attorney’s General (CWAG), the office of the Oregon Attorney General does not believe that the state of Oregon has standing to sue for the transfer of federal public lands to the state. The results of the request can be downloaded […]

Teddy vs. Zinke

Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke wants you to think he’s just like Teddy Roosevelt. What he does about Bears Ears will prove if he’s just blowing smoke. Throughout his career as a politician, Ryan Zinke has told anyone willing to listen that he’s cut from the same cloth as the iconic conservation pioneer, and […]

Western Values Project Calls on Senate to Press Perdue on his Troubling Record and Conflicts of Interest

Today, Western Values Project called on the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture to press Sonny Perdue on his record during his hearing to be Secretary of Agriculture. The Western Values Project — an organization that works to further the national conversation around public land use and conservation. – sent a letter to the U.S. Senate […]

FACT CHECK: New Mexico’s new energy chief is dangerously wrong on basic science, and it could cost New Mexico taxpayers dearly

Over strong objections, Kenley McQueen was confirmed as secretary of the New Mexico Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department on Wednesday.  During his contentious confirmation hearing, he displayed a shockingly out-of-touch view of many of the areas for which he is now responsible, something that should worry every New Mexican concerned with public lands and […]

WVP: Zinke must reject energy donors to match Roosevelt legacy

Whitefish, Mont. – Following the confirmation of Ryan Zinke as Interior Secretary, Executive Director of the Western Values Project released the following statement: “Secretary Zinke will tell anyone who is willing to listen, besides maybe his donors in the oil industry, that he’s just like conservation hero Teddy Roosevelt. Here’s what we have to say […]

Trump’s “America First” energy plan shouldn’t leave taxpayers behind

Last week, The Trump administration released its “America First Energy Plan” which, among other things, promises to expand oil and gas production on federal lands across the West. For those of us are concerned about the sweetheart deals oil companies have often gotten from drilling on public lands, this sets off some alarm bells. But if […]

How to help in 2017

With the new year, comes new challenges. We have a lot of work to do to keep our Western lands protected. We have you covered so that you can fight to keep your elected officials accountable. Over the past year, Washington tried to halt our strides time and time again. When some members of Congress […]

Historic Moab planning decision makes public lands a level playing field

Finalized today by the Bureau of Land Management, the Moab Master Leasing Plan (MLP) represents a historic achievement for the small businesses and citizens of Moab, Utah. After decades of conflict over leasing and drilling, Moab now has a detailed, comprehensive plan to guide future energy development on its public lands, one that will safeguard […]

The BLM should treat oil companies like it treats Terry Tempest Williams

The BLM recently announced that it would not issue two federal oil and gas leases purchased by the well-known conservationist Terry Tempest Williams. To justify its decision, BLM cited a requirement that federal leases be “diligently developed,” and, through her public statements, Williams had made it clear that she had no intention to actually drill […]

Wyoming Legislative Report Throws Major Shade at Public Land Takeover Agenda

Major doubts about the feasibility and viability of the public land takeover agenda were raised in a thorough – and costly – report commissioned by the Wyoming State Legislature and released to the public on October 18th. The report, which cost Wyoming taxpayers a whopping $75,000, detailed numerous obstacles to the state taking over the […]

Time for Western AGs to publicly oppose land transfer

A recently disclosed Conference of Western Attorneys General report concludes that lawsuits by states attempting to force the transfer of federal public land to states stands little chance of succeeding in the courts based on previous court cases and rulings. The reports of the analysis reveal an incredibly thorough legal repudiation of the land transfer movement’s arguments for […]

Outdoor industry CEOs back the administration’s record on public lands

An impressive group of 27 CEOs of some of the largest outdoor recreation companies sent a letter to President Obama and Interior Secretary Sally Jewell with one clear message: Thank you for promoting cleaner energy policies and protecting America’s $646-billion outdoor recreation economy! President Obama understands that access to clean and unspoiled public lands drives the […]

Congressman Bishop fails to work with the administration… and predictably blames the administration.

  Congressman Rob Bishop has repeatedly blamed the federal government for not listening to him or others about land protections and National Monuments. But it turns out that Bishop is the one not willing to communicate – and his stubbornness could force President Barack Obama into creating a National Monument to protect Bears Ears. On more […]

(Still) Open for business: Implementation of the BLM’s Sage Grouse Plans Continues to Allow for Multiple-Use Public Lands Management

A new report released today by the Western Values Project titled “Open For Business,” found, despite the false claims made by oil industry lobbyists and their allies in Congress that the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) fifteen sage-grouse land management plans would stifle development on public lands, the public lands have – as promised – stayed […]

Bishop ignores worried constituents at his 6 town halls, calls them a “pain in the butt”

A series of town halls intended to shore up flagging support for the embattled Public Lands Initiative backfired on Congressmen Rob Bishop as constituents continued to press him over the ill-fated and divisive bill. Even as his constituents brought up serious concerns, Bishop simply wouldn’t listen to the opposing views. During the six town halls […]

REPORT: On 100 Year Anniversary, Oil & Gas Development Threatens “America’s Best Idea”

As the National Park Service celebrates 100 years of protecting and preserving some of America’s most spectacular landscapes and natural treasures, a disturbing trend has emerged as oil and gas development creeps ever closer to National Park Boundaries. According to a new report by Western Values Project, many of America’s most iconic parks & monuments […]

Oil and gas industry still refuses to be accountable, even when NASA catches their hands in the cookie jar

In 2014, NASA found a Delaware-sized methane ‘hot spot’ hanging over the Four Corners region of the southwestern U.S. This area is also home to a high density of oil and gas development. Last week, NASA released a follow-up study, finding a direct link between oil and gas activity in the San Juan Basin and […]

Seeking: NMOGA Executive Director, questionable ethics and experience pandering to industry required

News that New Mexico Environment Secretary, Ryan Flynn has left his political appointment to potentially head an oil and gas interest group reads like a “What Not to Do” chapter out of an ethical handbook. (Update — Flynn was awarded the job as NMOGA Executive Director late on Friday, September 2nd.)  The New Mexico Oil and […]

Fact-check: Herbert’s team wrong on the facts, and on the wrong side of Moab MLP

Utahns from across the spectrum—small business owners, local officials, conservationists, and sportsmen and sportswomen—have hailed progress on the BLM’s proposed Master Leasing Plan as a model for how to plan for energy development on public lands. Unfortunately, Gov. Gary Herbert’s is ignoring this diverse set of voices and calling for a return to the days […]

ConocoPhillips wants a pat on the back, while still wasting millions of taxpayer dollars

Recently, ConocoPhillips tooted its own horn by touting the success of its natural gas waste capture programs. While we applaud ConocoPhillips’ steps towards reducing natural gas waste, there’s an omission that is the elephant in the room— ConocoPhillips is still the largest natural gas emitter in the US. Each year, ConocoPhillips emits the equivalent of […]

While Debt Ceiling Looms, Lawmakers Brainstorm Other Ways to Bankrupt States

This afternoon, Utah Congressman Rob Bishop’s Congressional “Federal Land Action Group” (FLAG), is holding a forum to discuss options for transferring federal lands back to state control. What the group won’t address, however, is that the idea of land transfer is hugely costly to states and taxpayers, is unpopular across the board with the public and would significantly restrict access to American public lands. At a time when […]

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