On his first day in office as secretary of the interior, newly minted Secretary Ryan Zinke issued Secretarial Order 3345 which “revokes Director’s Order 219,” effective immediately.
It’s a small thing, really, but hugely important in confirming that President Trump not only is intent on keeping his campaign promises but is determined to surround himself with people of like mind to help him keep them.
Director’s Order 219 was a parting shot issued by then-President Obama at the very end of his presidency that required the phasing out of the use of lead ammunition for hunting on Federal land. Specifically, it required that the “Assistant Director … establish a process to phase in a requirement for the use of nontoxic ammunition for recreational hunting of mourning doves and other upland game birds.” This would ultimately have led to the banning altogether of traditional lead ammunition for dove and upland bird hunting.
In the grand scheme of things this ban, and its repeal, scarcely rates a footnote. But its political importance is great, especially since it is the second such repeal the Trump administration has accomplished in just the last week. On February 28, the president repealed the so-called Social Security “gun ban” whereby certain beneficiaries would have had their Second Amendment rights arbitrarily revoked without the operation of due process.
This move by Zinke confirms Trump’s determination to support the Second Amendment and nominate people who agree with him. Zinke, interestingly, ran his own campaign for the House as the at-large representative from Montana in 2014 on a platform of achieving energy independence, with little said about the Bill of Rights or the Second Amendment. A hunter and a fisherman in Montana, where it is said that such activities are not a hobby but a way of life, Zinke supports coal extraction and fracking, and opposes Obama-era restrictions concerning wetlands and intermittent streams. His actions as a member of the House Natural Resources Committee has earned him a three-percent rating from the League of Conservation Voters.
As far as anthropomorphic (human-caused) global warming is concerned, Zinke said in 2014 that “it’s not a hoax but it’s not proven science either.” That’s a far cry from his position in 2010 when he signed a letter to President Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in which he called global warming “a threat multiplier for instability in the most volatile regions of the world” and that “the clean energy and climate challenge is America’s new space race.” He added that unless something were done immediately, there would be “catastrophic” costs and “unprecedented economic consequences” as a result.
However, he reflects the lessons learned along the way. After retiring in 2008 following a career as a Navy Seal, Zinke started his own property management business in Montana and served on the board of an oil pipeline company. While serving in the Montana state senate he promoted the use of technology in the classroom and local control of schools.
He also speaks his mind. During the presidential campaign, Zinke earned the eternal disdain of the mainstream media when he referred to Hillary Clinton as “the real enemy” and the “anti-Christ.”
Zinke’s notable start to his position as secretary of the interior presages an active campaign for the department to explore, examine, and then repeal much of the Obama administration’s efforts to “safeguard” the environment through agency-issued mandates. The repeal on his first day in office is a small beginning, but an important beginning nevertheless.
Photo of Ryan Zinke: Gage Skidmore