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Adam Markham has an excellent rundown of Trump’s nominee for Secretary of the Interior, who I am sad to say is also a former offensive linemen for the University of Oregon. Other than getting the job because of swapping hunting stories and making manly bonds with Uday and Qusay, Ryan Zinke is likely to be a complete disaster for the department, including how it needs to act on climate change.

In his first term as a Congressman he has voted to:

Weaken controls on air and water pollution in national parks
Lift the federal ban on crude oil exports
Undermine protections for endangered species
De-fund efforts to clean up Chesapeake Bay
Weaken the Antiquities Act by limiting the president’s ability to designate new national monuments

Well, that’s promising…

Zinke will be administering our more treasured places through the National Park Service. There’s a lot of front line research on climate change in the NPS.

Some of the most convincing evidence of climate impacts of climate change and of the work of National Park Service scientists can be found right in Congressman Zinke’s backyard—Yellowstone National Park. Average annual temperatures have risen 0.17˚C per decade since 1948 and spring and summer temperatures are predicted to rise by 4.0-5.6˚C by the end of the century, making hot dry summers the norm and transforming the ecosystems this iconic landscape.

Across the American west, climate change is driving a trend toward larger, more damaging wildfires, and fire season has lengthened by an extraordinary 78 days since 1970.

Yellowstone winters are already shorter, with less snowfall and many more days when temperatures rise above freezing than there were in the 1980s. Earlier snow melt and warmer summer temperatures are dramatically changing stream flow, river temperatures, and the condition of seasonal wetlands in the park, putting populations of native cutthroat trout, chorus frogs, and trumpeter swans at risk for the future.

Damaging climate impacts to wildlife and ecosystems have been recorded in Saguaro, Rocky Mountain, Glacier Bay, Biscayne, and Great Smoky Mountains National Parks as well as Yosemite, the Everglades, and many others.

Cultural resources are no less at risk. As UCS’s 2016 joint report with UNESCO and UNEP, World Heritage and Tourism in a Changing Climate documented, The Statue of Liberty was closed for nine months after Hurricane Sandy and $77 million has had to be spent to restore services and access on Liberty and Ellis Islands.

Extreme rainfall has damaged the Spanish mission church at Tumacácori in Arizona; sea level rise threatens black history at Fort Monroe in Virginia and the Harriett Tubman Underground Railroad National Monument in Maryland; colonial heritage is at immediate risk from rising water levels at Jamestown, Virginia; American Indian heritage has been damaged by floods and fires at Mesa Verde and Bandelier; and Native Alaskan archaeology thousands of years old is being lost forever as a result of coastal erosion at Cape Krusenstern and elsewhere in Alaska.

Unlike natural ecosystems which have the capacity to change or move, cultural heritage such as buildings, artifacts or archaeology can be permanently damaged or instantly destroyed by a fire, flood, or storm.

In a 2014 policy memorandum to all NPS staff, Jon Jarvis noted that “Climate change poses an especially acute problem for managing cultural resources because they are unique and irreplaceable — once lost, they are lost forever. If moved or altered, they lose aspects of their significance and meaning.” Aside from thousands of historic structures and sites, there are approximately 2 million archaeological sites within the National Park System alone, many of which are vulnerable to climate change.

I await the Zinke/Tillerson/Perry/Trump solution of privatizing the national parks. I’m sure Yellowstone brought to you by Exxon/Mobil will really take this problem seriously! But, once again, this is just a bog standard Republican pick by Donald Trump, mainstream Republican.

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  • Lit3Bolt

    Anytime now, Yellowstone Caldera…

    • XTPD

      So you wish, but the right-wing response to such an event would be that it cured global warming.

    • You beat me!

  • Linnaeus

    I’m watching this and Pruitt’s appointment as EPA Administrator very carefully to see what effects they will have on environmental regulation in my neck of the woods, particularly the Puget Sound cleanup plan that took nearly 30 years to put together.

  • Well, at least he’s opposed to the mass sell-off of federal lands. So the Bundies won’t be happy.

    • trollhattan

      Unfortunately if he papers the West with grazing permits and gelds/eliminates resource management then it’s effectively handing them the keys. Wouldn’t surprise me if they start a “demonstration project” testing reintroduction of hunting and grazing to national parks. Yellowstone, for example, has all those meadows and tasty elk.

      Also, too, expect a MAJOR uptick in logging on federal land, ala James Watt.

      • Yabbut at least that’s reversible.

  • kped

    I love that they are all part of “conservation” groups…that are just hunting groups with that in the name. I mean, if this guy was a conservationist, those positions would be different. But he’s not. And neither are the pscyho sons. It really is 1984.

  • Brett

    He’s a hunter, right? So at least he wants to keep places safe for hunting?

    • John not McCain

      Well, if the places we think of as natural hunting environments are destroyed, I’m sure he’ll just declare Detroit a hunting preserve and have at it.

      • DrDick

        He certainly has ties to white supremacists.

        • BobBobNewhartNewhartSpecial

          That seems to be a bit of a mischaracterization. He received some fairly small donations ($500) from two white supremacist groups, and donated that money to “a fund set up for the families of the victims of the Charleston shooting.”

          • DrDick

            He gave the money after there was a public outcry. He is my congress critter and he is very alt-right.

  • MidwestVillager

    Surely the privatized National Park lodges would be Trump branded rather than Exxon.

    • demz taters

      Right wing oil baron and real billionaire Phillip Anschutz already owns Xanterra Parks & Resorts, the largest concessioner in the national parks. Xanterra manages some of the most iconic properties in the national park system and last year tried unsuccessfully to trademark as its own property the names that some lodges have had for a century. Full ownership of these properties is what he is after and I’m afraid that under a Trump presidency, that is what will happen.

  • rea

    I await the Zinke/Tillerson/Perry/Trump solution of privatizing the national parks

    Don’t forget the crucial part of the plan–stop global warming by ending collection of weather data.

  • DrDick

    This toxic human slime mold is my rep and even more repulsive than you portray him. There are serious questions as to whether he actually lives in Montana. To his credit, however, he does not seem to belong to the privatize all public lands cabal. He would, however, throw them open to corporate plundering (drill, baby, drill/clear cut the parks!). Conferring administration of parks to corporations would also be likely (Exon-Mobile’s Yellowstone Park).

  • I guess Ammon Bundy wasn’t available.

  • ice9

    Check out that ‘Infidel’ hat, complete with Arabic–no doubt chosen for maximum effectiveness in infuriating muslim turkeys. Just the kind of guy we want in the cabinet–he can focus on an issue without splattering the landscape with irrelevant quasi-political pollution, honest he can.


  • Origami Isopod

    I already posted this in the Friedman thread, but note the comment on that article:

    HisPurpose • 21 hours ago

    Zinke is the perfect one for the job. Trust the Lord and what He is doing. He is coming quickly. Revelation 22

    There are a shit-ton of Murkins for whom a complete trashing of the country — economically, civil rights-wise, and environmentally — is not a bug but a feature.

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