Secretary Zinke Praises President Trump's Government Reform and Modernization, Welcomes NMFS back to Interior

Executive Branch reorg strengthens Zinke's plan to modernize and reorganize Interior; welcomes National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) back to Interior

Washington, DC - - (June 21, 2018) - - Today, the U.S. Department of the Interior published the following information:

In accordance with President​ Donald J.​ Trump’s Executive Order 13781, the Executive Branch will undergo a reorganization to better meet the needs of Americans in the 21st century. Today the President announced a proposal to merge administrative responsibilities from other agencies into the Department of the Interior to improve the efficiency of the regulatory process. In the proposal, Interior would gain the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and aspects of the Army Corps of Engineers Civil Works, while transferring some environmental cleanup programs to the Environmental Protection Agency. These moves strengthen Secretary Zinke's plan to modernize and reorganize the Department of the Interior through common regional boundaries by taking a more collaborative government approach.

"President Trump is a businessman who knows that an effective operation needs to be organized for success, which is exactly why he is leading this commonsense reorganization of the executive branch," said U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke. "By merging agencies that handle similar, if not the same, functions we would be able to greatly improve services to the American people and better protect the land and wildlife under our care. At Interior, we are leading the government reform and modernization by consolidating dozens of regional bureau boundaries into twelve common unified boundaries -- down from 61 for the nine bureaus -- and pushing more assets and decision-making out into the field. This will allow government agencies to work more collaboratively on everything from wildlife and habitat management to expanding recreation access on public lands to environmental reviews and permitting infrastructure projects."

The Department of Commerce’s NMFS would return to Interior and merge with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. This would consolidate the administration of the Endangered Species Act and Marine Mammal Protection Act into one agency within Interior. This merger would also combine the Services' science and management capacities, resulting in more consistent federal fisheries and wildlife policy and improved service to the public, particularly on infrastructure permitting.

Interior would also take on certain duties of the Army Corps of Engineers Civil Works, such as flood and storm damage reduction, aquatic ecosystem restoration, and other regulatory activities. This realignment would allow for more rational public policy outcomes and better investments.

Additionally, some of Interior’s environmental cleanup programs would be consolidated into the Environmental Protection Agency’s Superfund program, which would reduce the number of decisions and approvals, eliminate policy inconsistency among agencies, and expedite the cleanup of contaminated sites.

Secretary Zinke is also embarking on a historic reorganization and modernization of the Department, shifting all of the bureau regional boundaries to unified boundaries to improve collaboration and delivery of services. The Departmental reorganization and modernization will also prioritize moving more workers, assets, and decision-making authority to the west where the vast majority of the Department's work is conducted. Major areas where the Secretary sees improvement include recreation, delivering administrative services (like human resources, IT, and procurement) through updated process and systems. Under Zinke's plan bureaus within the Department would work together on permitting projects that affect multiple bureaus, reducing the cost and the length of time required to complete a project.

Courtesy: U.S. Department of the Interior