Ryan Zinke

Too many decisions about the West get made in Washington, D.C. At least, that's what the Secretary of the Interior thinks. Ryan Zinke plans to move thousands of the department’s employees out west to manage water, public lands and energy from there. How might this seemingly dull, bureaucratic plan affect the West in interesting ways? Here's how people with a vested interest responded–starting in Wyoming.  


VCU CNS / Flickr

An exchange between the boss of Idaho’s Hecla Mining Company and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is ringing alarm bells in some circles.

The brief interaction between Hecla Mining CEO Phillips Baker Jr. and Interior Secretary Zinke happened in October.

Rick Bowmer / AP Images

In January, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke announced he wanted to create 13 distinct regions of the country, with the intention of decentralizing the D.C.-based agency.

Vlad Karpinskiy / Flickr Creative Commons

During Ryan Zinke’s nomination hearing in the Senate last January, he was adamant on one point:

“I am absolutely against transfer or sale of public land," he replied to a question from Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Keith Ridler / AP Images

Obama’s Interior Department decided not to put the greater sage grouse on the Endangered Species List. In exchange, officials created a plan which restricted ranching, mining and other resource extraction – but not as drastically as a listing decision would have.

AP

U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke's dormant congressional campaign committee recently sold a 2004 motor home at a steep discount to an old friend in the Montana Legislature.

But a seemingly ordinary transaction between friends, when seen through the optics of stringent campaign finance laws, can raise a bevy of questions - especially when those friends are politically high-powered and well-connected.

LM Otero / AP Images

The struggle to save the embattled greater sage grouse — while keeping the ground-dwelling bird off the Endangered Species List — has been going on for decades. Its population has plummeted from millions of birds to less than 500,000 in recent years.

Key to the fight is identifying and attacking what’s killing the bird, a challenge complicated by the fact that the threats vary depending on the state.

EarthFix

An agriculture group says the cost of saving salmon in the Northwest’s largest river system is unsustainable. Now, the Columbia-Snake River Irrigators Association is turning to the Trump administration to try and sidestep endangered species laws.


sage grouse, wildlife
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service / Flickr Creative Commons

The Trump Administration plans to change how an iconic western species is managed. The new approach comes after Republican governors lobbied for a review of a plan to protect the greater sage grouse.


Jim Urquhart / AP Photo

Protections that have been in place for more than 40 years for grizzly bears in the Yellowstone National Park area will be lifted this summer after U.S. government officials ruled Thursday that the population is no longer threatened.

Darin Oswald / Idaho Statesman

Wednesday, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke announced a departmental review of how the greater sage grouse is protected. 

The sage grouse lives in 11 western states, and its habitat spans more than 40 million acres. The bird’s population has declined significantly in recent decades, as natural resource development expanded in some states.

In 2015, the Obama administration decided not to put the bird on the Endangered Species List, in exchange for a habitat-wide approach to preserving the animal. That plan restricts oil, gas and mining development in sage grouse country.

Zinke Perdue Agriculture Interior
Tom Michael / Boise State Public Radio

Friday morning two U.S. Cabinet members visited Boise: Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. 

In a conference room high about the Boise State University football stadium, Secretaries Perdue and Zinke spoke about land management.

They were introduced by Celia Gould, Idaho's Director of Agriculture, who observed that the Department of Interior and the Department of Agriculture cover a lot of ground in the state. "This is possibly the first time in Idaho's history," she quipped, "that we have had the two largest land-owners in the state."

Keith Ridler / AP

Friday morning, two U.S. Cabinet members made a visit to Boise. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke appeared at Boise State University. Tom Michael attended the event and sent this report.

For more local news, follow the KBSX newsroom on Twitter @KBSX915

Copyright 2017 Boise State Public Radio

Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

The Trump administration has proposed an 11 percent decrease in funding for the Interior Department.

If approved by Congress, the Interior Department would receive $11.7 billion for fiscal year 2018. That’s more than the president had originally outlined in an earlier budget draft, but still would be a hit to department funding.

Troy Smith / Flickr Creative Commons

President Donald Trump signed an executive order that questions the validity of some national monuments in the West.  The order applies to any national monument created after 1995 that totals at least 100,000 acres.

Friday, the Interior Department released the list of monuments up for review and announced the first-ever public comment period on the topic. In a new twist, Idaho's Craters of the Moon National Monument made the list.

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