NWF: Interior Secretary Nominee Sounds Right Note on Keeping Public Lands Public

Hunters, anglers, conservationists urge continued efforts to improve public lands management

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Montana Rep. Ryan Zinke, the nominee for Interior secretary, invoking the spirit of President Theodore Roosevelt, on Tuesday provided the strong endorsement for keeping public lands in public hands that the National Wildlife Federation, its affiliates and supporters believe is necessary to ensure that Americans will enjoy these lands for generations to come.

Collin O’Mara, the National Wildlife Federation’s president and CEO said of Zinke’s hearing before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee:

“Listening to Rep. Zinke during today’s hearing, it was fantastic to hear the Congressman reiterate his adamant support for keeping public lands public. This is a top priority for the National Wildlife Federation’s 6 million members and supporters. Conserving our public lands is absolutely crucial to maintaining healthy fish and wildlife populations, hunting, angling and recreation opportunities, sustaining the country’s $646 billion outdoor recreation economy and safeguarding clean air and water. Our public lands will play an increasingly vital role in providing needed resilience as the effects of climate change intensify.

“The National Wildlife Federation also welcomes Rep. Zinke’s commitment to supporting proactive wildlife conservation, permanently reauthorizing the Land and Water Conservation Fund, and tackling the $12 billion and growing maintenance backlog in our National Parks and National Wildlife Refuges, truly the Crown Jewels of our outdoor heritage,” O’Mara added. 

“The hunters, anglers, hikers, wildlife watchers and paddlers of the National Wildlife Federation want to see our public-land legacy remain intact, they also want our public lands managed better based upon the best science available and the best information about potential impacts of development. We applaud the Congressman’s backing of objective, science-based management and commitment to improving public land management and land use planning policies, as well as ensuring that Americans receive a fair return on their public resources. We also appreciate the Congressman's commitment to working with local communities to advance important on-the-ground collaborative efforts, including increasing hunting and fishing access, proactively restoring wildlife habitat including the sagebrush sea, and protecting key resources through the Antiquities Act.

“At the same time, we look forward to working with the Congressman on finding the best solutions for reclaiming degraded habitat and restoring waterways in coal country, as well as finding common-sense solutions to reduce methane flaring.”

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