Grijalva Shows Secretary Zinke’s Goal for Interior Reorganization has Already Been Met

Washington, D.C. – House Republicans are holding a hearing this morning to justify Secretary Ryan Zinke’s efforts to drastically reorganize the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) without Congressional or public support. Secretary Zinke has been vocal about his plans to shift more department resources and personnel from Washington, D.C. to field offices across the country, but has not shared the scope and details of his plans.

To prove that there isn’t a need to reorganize the Department and move employees out of Washington, Ranking Member Grijalva and Oversight and Investigations Ranking Member Donald McEachin (D-Va.) released the data below that reveals that over 90 percent of DOI employees are already outside of the District. Secretary Zinke has publically stated that he plans on relocating three agencies outside of Washington entirely, when 91-99 percent of employees in those agencies are already outside the region. The data directly contradicts claims by House Republicans and Secretary Zinke that there is a need to move DOI employees from the main Interior office in Washington.

DOI Employee Locations

“They’re already there,” Grijalva pointed out. “This reorganization is an exercise in weakening the Department of Interior by driving employees out. Once they’re gone, the extractive industries will be able to check off the top item on their wish list.”

In March 2017, President Trump issued an executive order calling for the heads of each executive agency to submit a plan to “improve the efficiency, effectiveness, and accountability of federal agencies, including as appropriate, to eliminate or reorganize unnecessary or redundant federal agencies.” In response to the President’s request, Secretary Zinke submitted a plan to the Office of Management and Budget that has since been used to justify significant agency actions like moving several executives, the rescission of an existing 100-year plan for the National Park Service and the ongoing hiring freeze. The reorganization plan has not been shared with the Committee or the public for review or input, but the official plan is expected to be released in February 2018. Ranking Member Grijalva sent a letter to the Secretary in September asking for information on the Department’s reorganization plans, but never received a response.

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