The federal government agency responsible to safeguard over 20 percent of America’s public lands, waters, and wildlife has been hijacked. And it’s an inside job.

The agency is the Interior Department, and the hijacker is the Secretary himself, Ryan Zinke. Zinke often invokes the image of a modern day Teddy Roosevelt, but TR would be appalled by the polluter-driven, anti-conservation agenda Zinke is dictating.

If there were any doubts about Zinke’s intent, they were put to rest with the release of his Final Report: Review of the Department of the Interior Actions that Potentially Burden Domestic Energy in late October.

The potential impact if Zinke’s agenda is realized:

  • Removing tens of millions of acres of public lands  from conservation protection and public use, and putting them in play for oil, coal, and gas development;
  • Spoiling America’s largest wild space—the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for unneeded oil drilling;
  • The transformation of millions of acres of the Arctic and Mid-Atlantic ocean coasts into oil fields;
  • Reversing health-harming and climate changing waste and pollution from the oil and gas industry on more than 750 million acres of public and tribal lands;
  • Loss of billions of dollars to U.S. taxpayers, through loopholes and breaks to dirty energy companies who are paying less to lease an acre of public land for oil or coal than it costs to buy a cup of coffee.
  • A complete reversal of democratic protections that have given the public the right to provide input into how our public lands and waters are used now and in the future.

The Zinke agenda is plain: it’s pro-pollution and against the public interest the Interior Department is supposed to protect. The Interior Department is entrusted to manage America’s natural resources and cultural heritage; provide scientific and other information about those resources; and honor its responsibilities to American Indians, Alaska Natives, and affiliated island communities.

But under Zinke, the Interior Department has turned into a leasing agency for the fossil fuel industry. Zinke has stacked his staff with former dirty energy industry lobbyists, and made it his mission to promote fossil fuels—not to preserve public lands or waters, or promote low-impact clean energy, like solar energy, on public lands.

The Zinke agenda isn’t even good business for American taxpayers. The fossil fuel giveaway will short-change taxpayers, states and local economies tens of millions of dollars annually.

And finally, the Zinke agenda is anything but a responsible energy plan for America. You’ll find plenty of polluting, 19th century ideas in Zinke’s plan, but you’ll find few forward-looking clean energy solutions.    READ MORE