Date: December 28, 2017
WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Department of the Interior released a list of accomplishments that the Department has achieved under the leadership of President Donald J. Trump and U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke. The accomplishments represent the unique balance of development, conservation, and preservation that the Department is charged with overseeing, including leading in American Energy Dominance, restoring public access to public lands, and providing regulatory relief for hard working American citizens.
“The President promised the American people that their voices would be heard and that we would prioritize American interests, and I'm proud to say that this year the Department of the Interior has made good on those promises,” said Secretary Zinke. “Across the Department we are striking the right balance to protect our greatest treasures and also generate the revenue and energy our country needs. We ended the war on coal, and we restored millions of acres of public land for traditional multiple use. We expanded access for recreation, hunting and fishing on public lands, and also started looking at new ways to rebuild our National Parks. This is just the tip of the iceberg. Next year will be an exciting year for the Department and the American people."
Throughout Secretary Zinke’s Senate confirmation process, he made many promises to the American tax payer, and the list of accomplishments shows how the Department is keeping the promises that were made. Additionally, Zinke fulfilled confirmation promises to Senators to visit DOI holdings in their home states, including Florida, New Mexico, Utah, Alaska, Idaho, Louisiana, Tennessee, Maine, Colorado, Arizona, and Texas.
Below is a summary of major accomplishments according to Secretary Zinke's Top Ten Priorities at the Department:
Under Secretary Zinke's leadership, the Department opened public access to the Sabinoso Wilderness which contains some of the most pristine sportsmen opportunities in the country, expanded hunting and fishing access on 10 National Wildlife Refuges, and successfully defended a mineral withdrawal near the Grand Canyon and supports a withdrawal north of Yellowstone.
Under Secretary Zinke's leadership, the Department held the second largest offshore wind lease sale, ended the Obama-era ban on coal mining on federal lands, and increased energy revenues to states and Tribes by more than a billion dollars.
At Secretary Zinke's recommendation, the President restored traditional multiple-use public access to over a million acres of land in Utah while creating five distinct monument units at Grand Staircase-Escalante and Bears Ears National Monuments. Under Zinke's leadership, the Department also opened up the Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge for emergency cattle grazing after a wildfire, and reopened U.S. Virgin Islands National Park ahead of the busy Christmas tourism season, helping the Islands' economic recovery.
President Trump nominated the first Alaska Native woman to serve as the Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs and issued the first-ever Presidential Emergency Declaration for a Tribe. Secretary Zinke signed the Pechanga water rights settlement, restored the rights of Alaska Natives to sell handicrafts, and asked Congress to formally designate Tribal co-management of Shash-Jaa area of Bears Ears National Monument.
Under Secretary Zinke's leadership, the Department increased energy revenues to states by more than a billion dollars over the previous year.
President Trump and Secretary Zinke began the process of working with Congress to authorize full funding of the compact with Palau in order to strengthen the United States strategic defense in the Pacific. Hundreds of DOI law enforcement officers deployed to evacuate, prepare and respond to hurricanes in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Under Secretary Zinke's leadership, the Department reduced the semi-annual regulatory agenda by more than 50-percent, initiated 21 deregulatory actions, saving the economy $3.8 billion over time.
Secretary Zinke announced repairs to the historic Arlington Memorial Bridge, which carries 68,000 vehicles a day, will be completed under budget and ahead of schedule. The Secretary approved important infrastructure projects like the Boardman/Hemingway Transmission Line and the Mountain Valley Pipeline while also approving more than $80 million for parks and recreation grants.
The Secretary is crafting a plan to reorganize the Department of the Interior in a way that better manages our federal lands and pushes more assets to the field. The philosophy has earned bipartisan support in Congress and among governors.
Partnership for Public Service announced in its"The Best Places to Work" survey the Department of the Interior (DOI) has improved from 11th place to 9th place among all the large agencies. Secretary Zinke has made improving the work experience a priority while at the Department, and the numbers from the report show a significant jump towards reaching that goal. Additionally, the Secretary announced the Department would be dog friendly in an effort to boost morale and attract top candidates.