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Members and Zinke Discuss a Better Path Forward for the Department of the Interior


WASHINGTON, D.C., June 22, 2017 -

Today, the Committee on Natural Resources held an oversight hearing with Department of the Interior (DOI) Secretary Ryan Zinke to examine the Trump Administration’s budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2018 and new policy priorities of DOI and its subagencies.  

The shared priorities of balancing our budget, improving land management and expanding access can’t be fully achieved without broader reforms,” Chairman Rob Bishop (R-UT) said. “I look forward to hearing your thoughts on how this Committee can provide the administration with the tools for it to succeed.”

Last year DOI only generated $2.6 billion in revenue from offshore development, a significant decrease from $18 billion in 2008. According to Secretary Zinke, the revenue loss “could have made up our entire backlog plus three billion dollars of additional investments to fund programs and schools.”

“When you put 94 percent of all offshore holdings off limits, it has a consequence. When you decide you’re not going to cut any timber, it has a consequence. When you decide you’re not going to do anything onshore, it has a consequence,” Zinke argued.

In light of President Trump’s executive order to comprehensively review recent monument designations under the Antiquities Act, a number of Members asked Secretary Zinke about his vision for public lands, monument designations and the limits of executive power.

“There are areas within monuments that are better suited in my judgement to be national recreation areas, conservation areas,” Zinke responded. “The authority does not rest with the executive. The authority rests with [Congress].”

As litigation is often one of the most cited reasons for project delays, Members also questioned how excessive lawsuits impact the DOI’s ability to fulfill its core mission and address our nation’s infrastructure needs.

Members praised the Administration for putting forward a responsible and strategic budget that leverages the nation’s natural resources.  

“The Department of Interior touches the lives of more Americans than any other Department,” Zinke stated. “Interior is not a partisan issue. Our public lands is an American issue.”

Click here to view full witness testimony.


Contact: Committee Press Office 202-226-9019

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