A new poll showing support slipping for Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s monuments review in his home state of Montana was released. The release of the poll comes in advance of a six-figure television and digital ad campaign in Montana reminding residents what is at stake as Secretary Zinke completes his review of national monuments.
“Secretary Zinke went to Washington, DC and left his Montana values at the door. Montanans understand that public lands are part of who we are and what we value. Unfortunately, Secretary Zinke is risking our outdoor heritage and bending to the will of DC lobbyists and special interests,” said Chris Saeger, Executive Director of the Western Values Project. “It’s clear that Montanans strongly oppose any plans to hand over public lands and campgrounds to private interests.”
The ad will run throughout Montana as part of a six-figure TV and digital media campaign.
The poll of Montana voters, conducted July 25-30 by the Global Strategy Group, shows little support for Secretary Zinke’s proposals to privatize campgrounds and rescind national monuments. Zinke’s job approval falls by 16-points after voters hear about efforts to privatize public lands and a full 21-points after voters hear about potential plans to privatize public campgrounds.
Montanans are strongly opposed to privatizing public lands and public campgrounds: fully 68% of likely voters oppose opening national public lands to private entities – 57% strongly oppose – while only a quarter of voters support this proposal. Montanans are even more opposed to privatizing public campgrounds at America’s national parks: 75% are against this – 62% strongly against it – while only 16% support this proposal.
In June, “Secretary Ryan Zinke, released the names of 27 monuments… that [the Department of the Interior] will put under a review” which covered “a 21-year period” including “the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument designated by President Bill Clinton in 1996 and the Bears Ears National Monument designated by President Barack Obama late last year.” [USA Today, 05/05/17]
Zinke will likely call for national monuments to be reduced or eliminated
“Ryan Zinke, the secretary of the interior, is reviewing 27 national monuments to determine if previous administrations exceeded their authority in setting aside craggy vistas, ancient cliff dwellings and other large tracts of land for protection. He is expected to recommend that some be scaled back, or perhaps eliminated entirely and transferred to state ownership.” [The New York Times, 08/11/17]
Zinke calls for fewer barriers to development on public land
“Removing bureaucratic obstacles to development on federal land can create jobs and offer hope to nearby communities, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said… hinting at long-term changes in store for federal agencies including the Interior Department.” [The Denver Post, 06/28/17]
Zinke proposes private ownership for national park campgrounds
“Secretary of the Interior and Montana native Ryan Zinke is proposing that private companies play a larger role in national park campgrounds. Zinke says it will be in an effort to help pay for over $11.331 billion (as of Sept. 2016) in deferred park maintenance.” [NBC Montana, 06/14/17]