Department of the Interior

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Trump Has Made Pick to Head Interior Dept., Despite Pushback

Acting department chief David Bernhardt has faced criticism from environmental groups

(Newser) - President Trump said Monday that he's nominating David Bernhardt, a former lobbyist for oil and gas companies and other industries, to head the Interior Department despite objections from environmental groups that Bernhardt already was making regulatory decisions on the country's natural resources to benefit industries. Trump tweeted his... More »

Dems Slam 'Extraordinary' Move to Keep Parks Open

Is it illegal for officials to tap entrance fees?

(Newser) - The National Park Service is taking an extraordinary—and, it turns out, controversial—step to keep its most popular sites open and safe for visitors during a prolonged government shutdown, the Washington Post reports. The Interior Department's acting secretary, David Bernhardt, has agreed to let park managers use entrance... More »

Ryan Zinke Out as Interior Secretary

A replacement will be named next week, per President Trump

(Newser) - Late last month, Arizona Rep. Raul Grijalva penned an op-ed asking Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to step down from his post due to a swirl of "scandals and nepotism." It looks like Grijalva is getting his wish: Per Bloomberg , sources reported that Zinke told the White House he'... More »

Zinke Didn't Like an Op-Ed on Him. Things Got Personal

Interior secretary accuses Rep. Raul Grijalva of alcohol abuse, using tax dollars as 'hush money'

(Newser) - A scathing opinion piece on Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, penned by a Democrat on the House Natural Resources Committee and published Friday by USA Today , has caught Zinke's attention—and he's offering some eyebrow-raising "thoughts" of his own online. The op-ed by Arizona Rep. Raul Grijalva asked... More »

'Extensive' Porn Browsing Led to Malware on Gov't Network

USGS employee visited 9K adult sites: inspector general's report

(Newser) - Russian malware found infecting a US government network got the in from a US Geological Survey employee who violated agency rules about watching porn on a government-issued computer. That's according to a Oct. 17 report by the Department of the Interior's inspector general, which found the unnamed employee... More »

A Big Change Is Proposed to Wildlife Protections

Officials would weigh economic factors in decisions under Endangered Species Act

(Newser) - Those who back the Endangered Species Act won't be happy to read a quote in the New York Times that sums up a story about its fate: "It's probably the best chance that we have had in 25 years to actually make any substantial changes," says... More »

Bad News, Bears: Obama-Era Rule on Hunting Reversed

New rule to allow bear baiting, spotlights for shooting in dens called 'unethical' by critics

(Newser) - The Trump administration is looking to dismantle Obama-era rules that made it more difficult to hunt on federal lands, including through the banning of bacon, honey, and doughnuts as bear bait. The 2015 rule also barred the use of dogs to hunt bears, spotlights to shoot bear cubs in dens,... More »

Zinke Tried to Say 'Hello.' He Should've Stuck to English

Interior secretary slammed for acting 'juvenile' at hearing on Japanese-American internment camps

(Newser) - Perhaps Ryan Zinke wanted to show off his foreign language skills at a hearing Thursday, but it ended with reprimands in very plain English. Politico and HuffPost report the Interior secretary attended a gathering of the House Natural Resources Committee and was asked about a commitment to $2 million in... More »

$139K for 'Secretary's Door' Raises Questions at Interior Dept.

Zinke spokesperson isn't commenting on work order

(Newser) - Records show the Interior Department spent nearly $139,000 last year for construction at the agency that was labeled on a work order as "Secretary's Door," the AP reports. A spokesperson for Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke did not provide answers Thursday to questions about whether changes had... More »

Shrinking National Monument Was About Oil After All: Report

NYT gets Interior Department emails that contradict Secretary Ryan Zinke

(Newser) - "Bears Ears isn't really about oil and gas," Interior Department Secretary Ryan Zinke said at a news conference in May 2017. Evidence from over 25,000 pages of department emails obtained by the New York Times shows that wasn't necessarily true. Last year President Trump called... More »

Trump Is 'Silencing Civil Servants, Stifling Science'

'Whistleblower' scientist says he was forced out of Interior Dept. role into 'ill-fitting' job

(Newser) - Joel Clement wants you to know he's not a member of the "deep state," or a representative of Big Government. Instead, call him "a scientist, a policy expert, a civil servant … a worried citizen"—and now, per his opinion piece Wednesday in the Washington ... More »

Trump's Next Cabinet Pick: Ex Navy Seal From Montana

Ryan Zinke is 'strong advocate for American energy independence'

(Newser) - Montana's only House lawmaker is Donald Trump's choice for interior secretary, transition team officials tell news outlets including Reuters and the Wall Street Journal . Ryan Zinke, a 55-year-old former Navy SEAL Team 6 commander, was first elected to Congress in 2014 and sits on the House Natural Resources... More »

Obama Administration Blocks Mining Near Yellowstone

Feds stepping up efforts to stop development

(Newser) - US officials on Monday blocked new mining claims outside Yellowstone National Park as the Obama administration races in its last days to keep industry out of natural and environmentally sensitive areas. Mining claims on 30,370 acres north of the nation's first national park would be prohibited for at... More »

Sex Scandal Lurks at Grand Canyon: Report

Park Service employees describe sexual harassment on river trips

(Newser) - Deep inside the Grand Canyon, on river trips that stretch for weeks, National Park Service workers sexually preyed on their female colleagues, a federal investigation found. The Department of the Interior's Inspector General's report Tuesday was prompted by a 2014 complaint accusing the Grand Canyon National Park's... More »

Ohio Fuming Over New Name for Mount McKinley

GOP politicians attack decision, blame President Obama

(Newser) - Alaska Natives are certainly pleased that the mountain formerly known as McKinley is now officially Denali , the name people who, say, live in Alaska have called it for years. But those in Ohio, the home state of 25th president William McKinley, are peeved their man has lost the honor. John... More »

Obama Gives Mount McKinley a New Name

Old battle between Alaska, Ohio apparently comes to an end

(Newser) - Looks like North America's tallest mountain won't be Mount McKinley anymore. President Obama announced today that Sally Jewell, the secretary of the interior, has renamed it Denali—restoring a name that Alaska Natives and state residents have used for years, Alaska Dispatch News reports. "I think for... More »

Gray Wolves Likely to Lose Protection

Draft rule by Interior Department would take them off endangered list

(Newser) - Federal wildlife officials have drafted plans to lift protections for gray wolves across the Lower 48 states, a move that could end a decades-long recovery effort that has restored the animals, but only in parts of their historic range. The draft rule by the Department of Interior contends that the... More »

New Gulf Leases Could Yield 1B Barrels of Oil

38M acres set for auction

(Newser) - The US is nearly ready to auction off oil and gas drilling leases for up to 38 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico—an area which could yield some 1 billion barrels of oil and 4 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, the Wall Street Journal reports. The March... More »

Obama to Pick REI Honcho for Interior Secretary

Sally Jewell will be first woman appointed in second term

(Newser) - President Obama will make an unconventional Cabinet pick today, naming REI Equipment Inc. CEO Sally Jewell as his new secretary of the Interior, a source tells the Washington Post . Jewell has had an interesting career path: She started out as an engineer for Mobil Oil, then became a commercial banker,... More »

Ken Salazar Leaving Obama Administration

Interior secretary had recently said he intended to stay

(Newser) - Ken Salazar is stepping down from his post as Interior secretary by the end of March, and returning to Colorado to spend time with his family, according to multiple reports. The move, first reported by the Denver Post , is expected to be officially announced later today. As recently as November,... More »

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