News

Running out of lobbyists to hire, Zinke turns to land transfer zealots for top Interior posts

This week has seen leaders in the land seizure movement gaining traction at the Interior Department. Brian Steed, the former Chief of Staff to leading land seizure advocate Utah Congressman Chris Stewart, was appointed the acting director of the Bureau of Land Management. Meanwhile, Karen Budd-Falen, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s top pick to become the […]

Likely nominee for BLM director brings land seizure road show to Montana

Montana presentation will advocate abdicating control over lands that belong to all Americans Tomorrow, leading land transfer advocate, ‘darling of the original Sagebrush Rebellion’ and Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke’s top pick to become the permanent Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Director, Karen Budd-Falen, will make an appearance in Hamilton, Montana. This will be […]

“Update” on sham monuments review to come from Senator Hatch at Utah Commission meeting

Senator’s staff to provide update on “potential federal actions that would affect Utah’s national monuments” Today, Utah Senator Orrin Hatch’s office will update the Utah Commission for the Stewardship of Public Lands on “potential federal actions that would affect Utah’s national monuments.” Senator Hatch’s staff had previously announced that the President intends to shrink the […]

Zinke’s bench of lobbyists and special interests continues to grow

Check out new profiles of political appointees at Interior https://departmentofinfluence.org/  Today, Western Values Project releases nine new profiles to the Department of Influence, tracking the revolving door between lobbyists, special interests, and Secretary Ryan Zinke’s Department of the Interior. Today’s batch of profiles includes two members of the failed land transfer movement as well as […]

Zinke continues to listen to special interests, ignore everyone else

Senators demand answers about monuments review, veterans call on Zinke to preserve national monuments, special interests continue to call the shots Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke is antsy to get his lobbyist friends confirmed to top positions at Interior, but Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) wants hard answers on Zinke’s secret plan to shrink the […]

Hartnett White, Wheeler latest Trump nominees with extreme anti-public lands background

Former lobbyists poised to bring history of false claims and questionable dealings to administration The United States Senate will soon consider Trump’s nominee to head the Council on Environmental Quality, Kathleen Hartnett White, and to become the Deputy Administrator at the Environmental Protection Agency, Andrew Wheeler. Both Ms. Hartnett White and Mr. Wheeler are former […]

Durbin isn’t the only one being stiffed by Interior

Western Values Project in ongoing lawsuit seeking documents on Zinke’s monument review   Today, Senator Dick Durbin announced he is placing a hold on several nominees to serve in the Interior Department until he gets answers to his questions about Secretary Ryan Zinke’s monuments review. Senator Durbin isn’t the only one waiting for information from Interior; […]

New document shows Zinke side-stepped Nevada governor on sage grouse review

Secretary met with attorney general before governor With public meetings on the proposed sage grouse management plans being conducted across Nevada this week, an internal document released by the Department of the Interior and analyzed by Western Values Project (WVP) shows that Secretary Ryan Zinke did a two-step around Governor Sandoval when discussing his plans […]

50 trillion reasons Kathleen Hartnett White is disastrous for public lands

The extreme views of Trump’s nominee to head Council on Environmental Quality  The head of the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) is a position unknown to many Americans that has an enormously influential role in how our public lands are managed. The appointee is responsible for developing policies and advising the President on the state […]

Zinke releases “energy burdens” report full of special interests giveaways

Report shills for the oil and gas industry at the expense of public lands Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke finally made his ‘energy burdens’ report available to the public. The report, required by President Trump’s “American Energy Independence” executive order from March, was due to the White House in September and had not been […]

New analysis by Western Values Project highlights who benefits from Zinke’s sage-grouse changes

Oil and gas leaseholders in sagebrush habitat have ties to Zinke, political staff and lobby group Under Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke’s direction, the Bureau of the Land Management (BLM) announced that it is rewriting Western state sage-grouse plans, making fundamental changes, including eliminating habitat designations and other important protections that are the “foundation” […]

Complaint filed on oil and gas lobbyists’ role in Zinke’s sage-grouse changes

Interior recommendations included 13 of 15 requests from oil and gas industry After over two months of failing to fulfill Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, Western Values Project (WVP) was forced to file suit seeking access to public documents that may show additional coordination between oil and gas lobbyist groups and Secretary of the […]

Land seizure advocates join Zinke’s calls to gut monuments

Fringes of the conservative movement demand end to landscape-level monuments, after Zinke issued recommendation to shrink them Leading proponents of the movement to transfer control over national public lands to states are echoing calls by Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke to lift protections for national monuments that include iconic landscapes across the American West. […]

Utah official uses water conservancy funds to create propaganda-filled documentary

Leaked video shows taxpayer-funded documentary features extreme and ethically challenged voices Western Values Project released a leaked copy of a documentary created with taxpayer funds by Mike Noel, a Utah state representative and Executive Director of the Kane County Water Conservancy District. Noel plans to debut his documentary, “Dixie National Forest: The Brian Head Fire,” […]

Zinke again sides with Washington lobbyists over Western states

Today, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke finally announced his intent to throw out carefully developed, bipartisan Western state sage grouse management plans. Based on the recommendations of Zinke’s handpicked sage grouse review team, we expect the Department’s new plans to mirror the requests made by oil and gas industry lobbyists. If adopted, these changes […]

Zinke orders Bureau of Land Management to suspend methane waste prevention rule

Suspension of rule will carelessly waste energy and cost taxpayers millions In another giveaway to oil and gas corporations, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke and the Bureau of the Land Management (BLM) announced a proposal for the suspension of a commonsense rule to prevent the waste of natural gas. The BLM rule prevents oil […]

Lawsuit takes aim at Zinke’s attempts to politicize Interior staffing decisions

Documents show Zinke filled employee board with political cronies Following reports that Department of the Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke filled an employee board entirely with political appointees, the Western Values Project, a Montana-based public lands watchdog, filed suit in federal court to force the disclosure of documents related to the board’s activities. Politico first reported that […]

Questions for Zinke ahead of his speech to the Heritage Foundation

Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke is set to share his ‘vision for American energy dominance’ with the oil and gas-funded Heritage Foundation. Secretary Zinke has been aggressively working behind closed doors, without public input on public land decisions, to roll back commonsense regulations. Some facts to keep in mind during Zinke’s speech: The United […]

Zinke imposing federal mandate, throwing out state sage-grouse management plans

Interior Secretary adopts oil and gas lobbyists’ requests over collaborative state plans Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke’s intentions to fast-track federally mandated amendments to Western state sage-grouse plans were leaked today. Based on agency and state officials familiar with the decision, The New York Times reports that the Department of the Interior will publish a formal notice of […]

Zinke cozies up to industry reps at exclusive Washington hotel

Interior Secretary Zinke’s love of special interests on full display at the Hay-Adams Card-carrying swamp member and Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke today hosted an event with the National Petroleum Council at the exclusive Hay-Adams Hotel. According to the $500-per-night hotel’s website, the Hay-Adams is a “discreetly luxurious hotel destination for discerning guests.” Unfortunately, Zinke’s open pandering and favoritism for the […]

Special interests win with committee vote on Interior appointees

View Interior appointees’ profiles on www.departmentofinfluence.org The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee voted to advance the nominations of two more special interest political appointees to powerful positions at the Department of the Interior. On a voice vote, the committee confirmed Joe Balash to be Assistant Secretary of the Interior, Land and Minerals Management and Ryan Nelson to be Solicitor […]

Zinke’s national monuments plan a threat to Western communities

Secretary Zinke’s secretive effort hands over thousands of acres of public lands to special interests with no accountability After weeks of secrecy, the results of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s monuments review have been revealed. Chris Saeger, Executive Director of the Western Values Project, released the following statement in response:  These recommendations put at risk our […]

Secretary Zinke’s “sportsmen” announcement obscures historic reductions to protected public lands

Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke announced a proposal to supersede local on the ground land and wildlife managers to distract from his unprecedented secret recommendations to reduce the size of national monuments and protections for public land. Statement of the proposal by Chris Saeger, Executive Director of the Western Values Project: This announcement is […]

More sweetheart deals: Zinke stacks Royalty Policy Committee with special interests

Learn more about the committee members at www.departmentofinfluence.org The first meeting of Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke’s handpicked Royalty Policy Committee will be held tomorrow. The Royalty Policy Committee is tasked with setting royalty rates for mining and drilling on federal lands. Research conducted by the Western Values Project (WVP) found that the committee […]

ICYMI: Interior caught handing over millions to Bernhardt clients

Inspector general’s report shows Bureau of Reclamation improperly gave millions in funds It didn’t take long for David Bernhardt’s record as a lobbyist to catch up with him. Now the Deputy Secretary at the Department of the Interior, Bernhardt left his job at a Washington, D.C. lobbying firm earlier this year to take the post. The Washington Post broke […]

Zinke continues to add lobbyists and DC insiders to Interior

Ahead of potential confirmation votes, check out profiles of Interior nominees at https://departmentofinfluence.org/ The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee is expected to vote on the nominations of Joseph Balash and Ryan Nelson to the Interior Department. Ahead of the vote, Western Values Project has taken a look at how the revolving door continues to spin between special interests, their […]

NEW POLL: Zinke’s popularity tanks as Montanans learn about monuments review

Zinke sees 7 point drop in job approval after announcing plans to alter national monuments The Western Values Project released the results of a new poll showing Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s popularity falling in his home state of Montana. The survey, conducted just after his recommendation to shrink national monuments was released, shows Zinke with […]

Western Values Project files suit after inspector general abruptly closes investigation

Government investigators close the file on Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s threatening phone calls, fail to provide any answers The Western Values Project (WVP) filed suit requesting documents from the Department of the Interior related to threats Secretary Ryan Zinke made to Alaska Senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan. The suit comes after the Office of […]

Zinke’s Interior considers drilling near Teddy Roosevelt National Park

News comes as embattled Secretary touts mining ban near Yellowstone Park in desperate attempt to restore conservation credentials The Department of Interior today came a step closer to allowing drilling in areas directly adjacent to Teddy Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota with an announcement on the consideration of a new oil and gas lease sale. […]

Hard pill to swallow: Zinke falsely claims no cuts to National Park Service staff

Trump/Zinke budget would cut 1,242 full-time employees   While celebrating the 101st birthday of America’s National Park Service (NPS), Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke told ABC affiliate WLOS News 13: ‘there wouldn’t be any cuts to staffing, instead, restructuring the way the National Parks Service operates.’ But earlier this year, Secretary Zinke was advocating for a […]

Exactly what “unspecified boundary adjustments” is Zinke proposing?

Today, the Western Values Project filed an expedited Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the Department of the Interior seeking information on the monument review that was submitted to the White House. The Associated Press reported that Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is proposing “unspecified boundary adjustments” to a “handful” of monuments, but the Interior Department is refusing […]

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