Quarter 1 in Review - - Department of ​Interior Releases Comprehensive List of First Quarter​ 2018​ Accomplishments Under President Trump and Secretary Zinke

Washington, DC - - (April 16, 2018) - - Today, the U.S. Department of the Interior released a comprehensive list of 2018 first quarter accomplishments that the Department has achieved under the leadership of President Donald J. Trump and U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke.

“Under the Trump Administration, Interior has made incredible strides in creating a conservation stewardship legacy, modernizing our infrastructure, helping combat opioid addiction, securing the southern border, and so much more,” said Secretary Zinke. “The Department is doing a tremendous job of breaking down regulatory barriers and cutting red tape to create economic prosperity that will benefit our nation. I signed an historic initiative to protect the migration corridors of North American big game species, we got to work opening the 1002 section in Alaska for responsible energy development, we partnered with BIA and other groups to form opioid task forces to crack down on drug abuse in Indian Country, and we introduced a bipartisan solution to fix the aging infrastructure in National Parks. The President and I look forward to keeping the pace and moving the country forward with America First policies.”

“Under Secretary Zinke’s leadership, we continue to make significant progress on a wide array of priorities for western states and insular areas,” said Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski, Chairman of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee. “From opening the 1002 Area, to responsible energy development, to a long-overdue agreement for a life-saving road for the people of King Cove, to the nomination of good Alaskans to serve in high-ranking key positions, the Department of the Interior is once again a true partner for us, and our future is much brighter for it.”

“I have known Secretary Zinke since we attended Boys State together in 1979,” ​​said ​Montana Senator Steve ​Daines​. “Being from Montana, Ryan’s Western values have guided his leadership at the Department of the Interior and brought responsible federal land stewardship and strengthened the government-to-government relationship with Indian tribes. He has done a great job.”

“Idahoans continue to tell me they are pleased with Secretary Zinke’s work at Interior,” said Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson. “I am particularly pleased with his dedication to fixing our National Parks and his commitment to keeping public lands accessible. I look forward to working with him on these and many other issues.” ​

“DOI’s innovative policies on ESA, Outcome-based grazing, wildfire fuels reduction and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act are providing ranchers with operational certainty that is critical to ensuring a future for rural communities throughout the West,” said Ethan L. Lane, Executive Director Public Lands Council & NCBA Federal Lands.

“The Trump Administration took a big step in opening energy access with its draft OCS oil and gas leasing program, initiating a welcome departure from the Obama Administration’s 2017–2022 plan. The United States is the only country in the world that has placed a majority of its territorial waters off-limits to natural resources extraction​,” said Nick Loris Herbert, Fellow in Energy and Environmental Policy at The Heritage Foundation. “Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s draft plan would change that. As the U.S. improves access to its energy resources, the economy will grow, and federal and state governments would benefit immensely from the increased revenues from royalties, rents, bonus bids, and overall economic activity.”

“Prioritizing the deferred maintenance backlog of our National Parks, engaging with private landowners on creating big-game migration corridors, putting more authority in the hands of regional and local managers, and reconsidering approaches for recovering threatened species such as the Louisiana pinesnake are all positive moves for conservation,” said Brian Yablonski, Executive Director of Property and Environment Research Center. “These efforts by the Department look for creative conservation solutions to environmental problems and promote stewardship of our many natural resources.”

“Under Secretary Ryan Zinke’s leadership, the Department of the Interior is leading the way in making America more competitive in the global energy marketplace,” said Grover Norquist, President of Americans for Tax Reform. “If the efforts to finally tap into our abundant natural resources succeed, taxpayers will reap the benefits for decades to come. Secretary Zinke’s work at DOI will lead to more high-paying jobs and significant economic growth.”

"Secretary Ryan Zinke is building off of a 2017 that saw the Department of the Interior as a frontrunner in terms of executing President Trump’s historic regulatory reform agenda,” said Patrick Hedger, Director of Policy FreedomWorks. “Under Zinke’s watch, DOI rolled back the excesses of the previous administration—shrinking unnecessarily enormous national monuments that infuriated state governments and rescinding onerous restrictions on domestic energy production that duplicated existing state standards. There is clearly a strong pattern of cooperative federalism in Zinke’s work. These trends look to continue into 2018, with plans underway to collaborate with states to liberate America’s offshore oil, gas, and renewable energy resources and reorganize the Department to better serve, not subjugate, the states and the American people. FreedomWorks looks forward to continued support of these efforts and more.”

Below is a summary of accomplishments during the first quarter of the year according to Secretary Zinke's Top Ten Priorities at the Department:

Create a conservation stewardship legacy, second only to Teddy Roosevelt
  • FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE: Secretary Zinke signed Secretarial Order 3362, prioritizing conservation and big-game migration corridors.
  • FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE: Issued a final delisting of the Eureka Valley evening primrose.
  • FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE: Downlisted the Eureka dune grass from endangered to threatened.
  • FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE: Announced more than $1.1 billion in grants to state wildlife agencies from revenues generated by the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration and Dingell-Johnson Sport Fish Restoration (PDRJ) Acts.
  • FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE: Held the first meeting of the Secretary’s International Wildlife Conservation Commission (IWCC).
  • FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE: Held a meeting of the Sport Fishing and Boating Partnership Council Meeting with new guidance under Secretary Zinke’s priorities.
  • BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT: Acquired 648 acres of land in the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument to facilitate traditional and recreation access.
  • BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT: Completed the latest in a series of improvements at off-highway vehicle recreation areas in northeast California and far northwest Nevada.
  • BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT: Decided to expand Phil’s World, a nationally recognized mountain bike trail system six miles east of Cortez, Colorado.
  • DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR: Created a Hunting and Shooting Sports Conservation Council.
  • NATIONAL PARK SERVICE: Secretary Zinke announced the Trump administration’s support for grizzly bear restoration efforts in the North Cascades Ecosystem.

Responsibly develop our energy & natural resources
  • BUREAU OF OCEAN ENERGY MANAGEMENT: Announced a slate of major wind initiatives.
  • BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT: Canceled a withdrawal application and the Department’s proposed withdrawal of 1.3 million acres of federal lands from location and entry under the mining laws in the California Desert Conservation Area.
  • BUREAU OF OCEAN ENERGY MANAGEMENT: Announced a Draft Proposed Five-Year Program for oil and gas leasing on the National Outer Continental Shelf.
  • INSULAR AFFAIRS: Requested proposals for FY2018 Energizing Insular Communities Program funding (due May 31) to produce American energy in the territories.

Restore trust & be a good neighbor
  • INSULAR AFFAIRS: Assistant Secretary Doug Domenech traveled to the Virgin Islands to provide $2.8 million in grants for rebuilding infrastructure and utilities after the hurricanes.
  • INSULAR AFFAIRS: Supported President Trump’s signing of the Palau Compact in the 2018 Omnibus Funding Agreement, including $123 million of funding through 2024.
  • FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE: Worked out a state-federal partnership to link the conservation of the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker with the U.S. Marine Corps mission at Lejeune.
  • FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE: Proposed Rule 4d protections for the Louisiana pinesnake, protecting the species while being a good neighbor.
  • FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE: Announced a $60 million cooperative agreement with the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation (RBFF) to help retain and recruit recreational anglers and boaters.
  • FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE: Announced $14 million in Boating Infrastructure Grants.
  • FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE: Launched the Nature’s Good Neighbors campaign to highlight public partners who are acting as conservationists across the country.
  • DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR: Announced $18 million in “Anvil Points” energy payment funds to the state of Colorado after nearly a decade of the funds being withheld by the federal government.
  • BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT: Released a decision to allow the Riley Ridge Development Project to begin in Wyoming.
  • BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT: Issued decision on Environmental Assessment for Phase III McGinness Hills Geothermal Project in Lander County, Nevada.
  • BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT: Distributed almost $300,000 in timber payments to two counties in western Oregon.
  • BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT: Announced outcome-based grazing projects for 2018, to give greater flexibility in the management of permitted livestock.
  • DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR: Signed an agreement with the Alaska Native King Cove Native Corp. to build a life-saving road between the Native village and a nearby all-weather airport in Cold Bay.

Ensure Tribal and Insular sovereignty means something
  • INSULAR AFFAIRS: Held meetings between the United States and the Republic of the Marshall Islands to discuss policy and funding issues.
  • INDIAN AFFAIRS: Secretary Zinke authorized the first funds transfer for the Blackfeet Water Settlement.
  • BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT: Approved a proposed land exchange between the Bureau and the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians.
  • INDIAN AFFAIRS: Approved the Shawnee Tribe’s Fee-to-Trust application for a gaming facility.
  • INDIAN AFFAIRS: Signed an agreement with the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation to implement the Land Buy-Back Program for Tribal Nations.
  • BUREAU OF RECLAMATION: Resolved longstanding rights-of-way issues, approving rights-of-way to the Pueblos of Nambe, Pojoaque, San Ildefonso and Tesuque.

Increase revenues to support DOI and national interests
  • BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT: Held numerous Spring 2018 oil and gas lease sales across the country, including: Eastern States, Wyoming, Montana, Nevada, Utah, Colorado.
  • OFFICE OF SURFACE MINING RECLAMATION AND ENFORCEMENT: Provided more than $300 million in Abandoned Mine Lands grants to states and tribes.
  • BUREAU OF OCEAN ENERGY MANAGEMENT: Held a region-wide oil and gas lease sale in the Gulf of Mexico, yielding $124.7 million in high bids on 815,403 acres.
  • BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT: Generated nearly $360 million from oil and gas lease sales in 2017, an 86-percent increase from the previous year and the highest in nearly a decade.

Protect our people and the border
  • INDIAN AFFAIRS: Formed an opioid task force, bringing together Bureau of Indian Affairs drug agents and other partners, to work with tribes and address the opioid crisis in Indian Country.
  • INDIAN AFFAIRS: Conducted a successful drug interdiction operation in New Mexico, netting millions of dollars in illegal drugs confiscated.
  • BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT: Began targeted, experimental grazing efforts to prevent wildfires.
  • U.S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY: Published a list of minerals critical to U.S. economic and national security, starting implementation of President Trump’s Executive Order 13817 on Critical Minerals.
  • DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR: Published the 2017 Drone Mission Report, which noted that drone flights to support natural resource management across Interior (including support to firefighters suppressing wildfires) increased 82-percent from 2016 to 2017.
  • DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR: Released a report highlighting progress made in the fight against invasive zebra and quagga mussels.

Strike a regulatory balance
  • FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE: Revised the previous administration’s M-Opinion on the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and modified policies to ensure consistency with the new Opinion.
  • BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT: Rescinded the 2015 Hydraulic Fracturing Rule.
  • BUREAU OF SAFETY AND ENVIRONMENTAL ENFORCEMENT: Announced a series of new initiatives to strengthen the federal offshore oil and gas inspection program.

Modernize our infrastructure
  • DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR: Supported the inclusion of a Public Lands Infrastructure Fund in the President’s FY19 budget request – the Fund would help pay for repairs and improvements in national parks, national wildlife refuges, and Bureau of Indian Education schools.
  • DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR: Began implementation of President Trump’s executive order and presidential memorandum on rural broadband availability.
  • NATIONAL PARK SERVICE: Secretary Zinke partnered with Congress on a bipartisan bill to address the maintenance backlog in our National Park System.
  • DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR: Selected members of Secretary Zinke’s newly created “Made in America” Outdoor Recreation Advisory Committee.
  • BUREAU OF RECLAMATION: $50,000 awarded for five arsenic sensor solutions selected through a prize competition.
  • BUREAU OF RECLAMATION: Launched prize competition looking for new ways to detect leaks and flaws in large buried pipelines.

Reorganize DOI for the next 100 years
  • INSULAR AFFAIRS: Secretary Zinke announced an expanded role for the Assistant Secretary for Insular Affairs, expanding the role to include ocean activities and international affairs.
  • DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR: Moved forward on major initiative to reorganize the Department.

Courtesy: U.S. Department of the Interior