Ryan Zinke

Lodgepole Complex Fire
Nate Hegyi / YPR

This has been the most expensive fire season in Montana since at least 1999. Both the state and federal governments have spent a combined $378 million dollars so far battling blazes.

Eric Whitney

As fires continue to rage, some in Montana are calling for fundamental changes in government forest management policies. That sentiment is being echoed by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.

Zinke was a guest on the Northern Broadcasting Network’s radio program Voices of Montana Tuesday. Just he came on, host Jon Arneson took a call from a longtime listener.

"Lets go to Diane in Marion, Montana on line 2. Diane?"

The fate of over two dozen national monuments on federal land will be determined in just over a week. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke will present his recommendations to President Donald Trump on August 24. They’ll outline which national monuments should be left alone, which should be scaled back, or perhaps even scrapped altogether.

Trump called the monument areas "a massive federal land grab" by previous administrations.

Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke will decide whether to shrink or eliminate 22 national monuments later this month. As Yellowstone Public Radio’s Brie Ripley reports, these monuments are significant money-makers for business owners across the West, who met in Helena and Great Falls Wednesday to discuss their concerns.

In Montana outdoor recreation generates nearly $6 billion in consumer spending annually, and supports over 60,000 jobs.

Coal
Kym Farnik / Flickr

The Trump administration is repealing an Obama-era rule that forced energy companies to pay more royalties on fossil fuels. Coal producers call it a return to fairness, but environmental groups say the repeal allows companies to continue exploiting a decades-old loophole.

Backcountry Hunters and Anglers launched an ad campaign Wednesday criticizing Secretary Ryan Zinke's review of national monuments.
Backcountry Hunters and Anglers

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke announced on Wednesday he won’t recommend any changes to the Upper Missouri River Breaks. It’s one of 27 national monuments under review by the secretary, who is now the target of a new ad campaign launched by a Montana-based sportsmen’s group.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke wants to streamline the process for oil and gas development on federal lands. Zinke signed an order Thursday mandating Bureau of Land Management oil and gas lease sales be held in each state on at least a quarterly basis.

Zinke noted during a telephone press conference that under the Obama administration BLM fell far short of that legally-mandated limit.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke says removing bureaucratic obstacles to development on federal land can create jobs and offer hope to nearby communities.

Zinke spoke Tuesday at the Western Governors' Association annual meeting in his hometown of Whitefish, Montana. He says the Interior Department and other land management agencies need to better cooperate, and hinted of major changes in store.

Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke visited his hometown in Whitefish today to address the Western Governors Association.

Secretary Zinke is currently running a review of more than two dozen of the country’s largest National Monuments, including Montana’s Upper Missouri River Breaks, to determine whether the Monument designations should be revoked or reduced in size.

When he returns to his hometown of Whitefish next week, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke will be greeted by billboards and a media campaign urging him to leave the Missouri River Breaks alone. It’s one of two dozen national monuments he’s reviewing to eliminate or scale back protections.

Zinke is scheduled to address the Western Governors Association's annual conference Tuesday.

Pages