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Broken Promises: Ryan Zinke Avoids Key Local Officials During Tour of Nevada Monuments

In June, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke promised to meet with key stakeholders when he’d return to Nevada to tour the two Nevada monuments included in the Trump Administration’s review. In July, Zinke left these local stakeholders off his agenda… again. Let’s dig deeper into the two key promises Zinke made in June, promises that Zinke would break one month later.

Promise #1: Zinke would meet with Native American communities

Last time Zinke was in Nevada, he promised to meet with local Native American communities. On Sunday, he still did not meet with them. Instead, the Department of the Interior merely arranged a conference call with Moapa Paiute tribal leaders for the next day.

When asked about his failure to meet with any of Nevada’s Native American communities, Zinke responded, with a list of Native American leaders he met with in New Mexico when he visited the monuments under review there.

Promise #2: Zinke would meet with local elected leaders

Though Zinke has claimed to value local input on the monuments’ future, he left local leaders out of the loop. Clark County Commissioners had questions on whether Zinke was taking into account the county’s Multiple Species Habitat Conservation Plan that allows for continued economic development while protecting vulnerable local wildlife. Mesquite Mayor Allan Litman was expecting a meeting on Monday. Rep. Dina Titus (D-Las Vegas) was also expecting to meet Zinke in Mesquite Monday.

At a brief press conference in Bunkerville, Zinke said Donald Trump urged him, “Make sure locals have a voice.” Despite that order, Zinke met with none of them. He then added, “I jammed everything into one day.” That one day excluded face-to-face interaction with the people leading communities who have the most at stake in Trump’s review of Gold Butte.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke speaks on Gold Butte and Basin and Range National Monuments in Bunkerville.

Posted by Nevada Forward on Sunday, July 30, 2017

 

Zinke later boasted, “Any day out of Washington, D.C., is a good day.” This came just before Zinke returned to Washington, D.C., to participate in Trump Administration’s “reboot” under new Chief of Staff John Kelly.

Photo by Andrew Davey
“Whether a monument can be rescinded or not, that’s a question left up to the courts.”
– Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke

After Zinke left, Interior Department officials said Zinke will submit a report to Trump by August 25 with a full list of recommendations… Including Gold Butte and Basin and Range. Zinke still won’t say what the Trump Administration is considering, though his response to a question on potential lawsuits suggested Trump may yet try to reduce or revoke both monuments.

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