Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke wants you to think he’s just like Teddy Roosevelt. What he does about the 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 founder of the National Parks Service, former President Roosevelt. His support for the Land and Water Conservation fund and his opposition to the seizure and sale of national public lands backs that up.
But his record of clearing the way for big oil and gas companies to drill on American public lands—along with the $345,136 in campaign cash he’s taken from them–is a reason to believe we can’t trust him to take a balanced approach 100% of the time.
Now that he’s in the hot seat at the most powerful government agencies that oversees American public lands, will Secretary Zinke have the courage to stand up to his donors and protect areas like the Bears Ears area of Utah from oil and gas development?
His complicated record on public lands proves he’s got a ways to go before he can really back up his claim to be in the mold of Teddy Roosevelt. He can fully embrace that legacy if he maintains protections for Bears Ears.