‘Shameful Vote’: 17 Senators Draw Progressive Outrage for Enabling Trump

“You are now responsible for the actions that Ryan Zinke will take as Secretary of the Interior,” reads a letter aimed at 16 Democrats and Independent Sen. Angus King of Maine. “I plan to hold you accountable.”

—by Andrea Germanos, staff writer

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The Fight for Our Public Lands, Wildlife and Economies Begins

Ryan Zinke, a now former Congressman from Montana, has just been confirmed to lead the Department of Interior.  He has a lifetime record of voting against the environment 96% of the time. His confirmation jeopardizes the future of our public lands, and the people, wildlife, and economies that depend on them.

Zinke’s answers to questions during the confirmation process provide insight into how he envisions the Department of Interior will manage millions of acres of federal lands and the natural resources under and on our wild places. When asked if humans have contributed to climate change, he questioned whether we are the driving force. When asked about protecting public lands, he refused to commit to keeping dirty fuels in the ground. He even said that the recent designation of Bears Ears National Monument in Utah, lands that are sacred to five Native American tribes with ancestral and spiritual ties to these lands, was one of the “pending problems we need to address quickly.”

Our public lands allow us to experience the majesty of the great outdoors, learn about our country’s history, and honor those whose cultural history dates back millennia. It’s now become imperative that we step up and fight so that future generations can enjoy these places, too.

Further Reading:

Heller, Reid Reintroduce Lyon Co. Lands Bill

Yesterday, Nevada Senators Dean Heller and Harry Reid jointly re-introduced the Lyon County Economic Development and Conservation Act of 2012. The two senators formally re-introduced the legislation to ensure its consideration by the Senate in the 113 th Congress. The Lyon County lands bill will allow the City of Yerington to work with Nevada Copper to expand its mining operation and create jobs while also providing the City with new infrastructure, job creation, and recreational opportunities. This bi-partisan legislation was a collaborative effort that resulted from countless meetings, discussions, and site visits with and between Lyon County officials and local residents.

“I am encouraged that officials on all levels were able to come together on a measure that will create hundreds of jobs in one of Nevada’s most distressed counties. This legislation will allow Nevadans to utilize resources in our own backyard that can be used to create jobs and grow our local economy. Considering that mining is the backbone of Nevada’s rural economy, measures such as these are critical to ensuring economic recovery in our state. I look forward to working with the entire Nevada delegation to pass this legislation out of Congress as soon as possible,” said Senator Dean Heller.

“My father was a miner. I’ve worked in the mines. I know how important mining has always been for the state of Nevada, and I look forward to working with the Nevada congressional delegation to pass this important bill,” said Senator Harry Reid. “I am very happy to be part of this legislation which will create lots of jobs in Lyon county, which are so desperately needed. This bill also designates the Wovoka wilderness area, a place with special cultural and natural resources that are worthy of a high level of protection so future generations can continue enjoying them. It’s a bill that’s going to meet the needs of modern day Nevada.”

About the Lyon County Conservation and Economic Development Act of 2013

The legislation will allow the City of Yerington to partner with Nevada Copper to develop roughly 12,500 acres of land surrounding the Pumpkin Hollow project site, which is already creating jobs in Nevada.  The Pumpkin Hollow project is estimated to create 800 mining jobs and 500 construction jobs.  The lands conveyed by this bill will also be used for industrial, recreation, and infrastructure purposes that will create sorely needed jobs and economic development for Yerington.

It will also designate an important wilderness area, known as the Wovoka Wilderness, while protecting the rights and interests of ranchers and miners who earn their living on the land in the area.  Wovoka is named in honor of the Native American spiritual leader and father of the Ghostdance who was born and raised in the area.

The proposed Wovoka Wilderness is approximately 48,000 acres and withdraws from mining and development additional land with sensitive cultural resources.  Wovoka has invaluable prehistoric cultural and natural resources that are worthy of protection so future generations can continue enjoying them. Wovoka contains landscapes and wildlife habitat that have been enjoyed by hunters, outdoors enthusiasts, and explorers since John C. Fremont camped along the nearby East Walker River in 1844.

Oil Corrupts and It’s All About the Money

DeSmogBlog investigates the controversial decision by Alberta’s government to ignore the threat of rapid industrial expansion in the Alberta Tar Sands region, and instead kill thousands of wolves to appear to be doing something to save dwindling woodland caribou populations. Through interviews with scientists, wildlife experts and a First Nations chief, the myth of Canada’s “ethical oil” is further exposed as oil industry greenwashing.

Can Rep. Amodei Read? Is he Functionally Illiterate?

On 4/5/2012 I wrote to Rep. Mark Amodei in opposition to Oppose H.R. 4089, the Sportsmen’s Heritage Act of 2012

Dear Rep. Mark Amodei:

I OPPOSE PASSAGE of H.R. 4089, the Sportsmen’s Heritage Act of 2012. This bill would ensure the continued lead poisoning of bald eagles, condors, loons, swans and other wildlife. The misguided and purported “Sportsmen’s Heritage Act of 2012″ would prevent the EPA from enforcing federal regulations intended to protect wildlife and people from preventable lead poisoning. The NRA claims that removing toxic hunting ammunition is “extreme” and somehow anti-hunting. What’s so "extreme" about insisting that bald eagles not starve to death because their digestive system has been shut down by lead poisoning? There’s no reason for this preventable wildlife epidemic to continue. There are plenty of lead-free, nontoxic bullets available on the market today in all 50 states. What’s needed now is a nationwide shift away from these toxic ammunition. I urge you to vote NO when this bill comes up for a vote.

Note that I “OPPOSE” passage to HR 4089.  I subsequently wrote another email to Rep. Amodei regarding the ambiguity within this bill and whether hunters, because of that ambiguity, would be able to trophy hunt in our national parks and drive a number of animal species into extinction for their mere pleasure.  Apparently, I need to send Rep. Amodei a dictionary so he can look up just exactly what it means when someone opposes something.  Here’s a copy of the response I got from his office today with his signature affixed.  And NO, I am NOT pleased.

HR4089

April 26, 2012

Dear Ms. Rock:

Thank you for contacting me regarding the Sportsmen’s Heritage Act of 2012 (H.R. 4089). I appreciate hearing from you on this issue.

I think you will be pleased to know that I support H.R. 4089. As a fellow sportsmen, I voted in favor of this legislation because the public interest is better served through policies that ensure opportunities are facilitated to allow fishing and hunting on federal public land. Recreational anglers, hunters, and associated industries protect our public treasures by generating billions of dollars of critical funding for fish and wildlife conservation, research, and management.

Specifically, H.R. 4089 would require recreational hunting, shooting and fishing to be recognized activities on all Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management lands, with exceptions including national security. This legislation would also clarify that the Environmental Protection Agency does not have the jurisdiction to regulate traditional ammunition with lead components and lead fishing tackle on federal land.

H.R. 4089 passed in a full vote of the House of Representatives on April 17, 2012 and now awaits further action in the Senate.

I appreciate the fact that you have taken the time to apprise me of your opinions and hope that you will contact me again should you have any further comments or concerns. If you would like additional information on my activities in the House, please visit my website, www.Amodei.house.gov or connect with me on facebook.com/MarkAmodeiNV2 and twitter.com/MarkAmodeiNV2.

In closing, please know that I consider it a privilege to serve and represent you and your family in Congress.

Sincerely,

Signature

Mark E. Amodei
Member of Congress
MEA/rg

This is NOT the first time he has written back to me touting his support for a given bill after I’ve clearly written to him in absolute opposition to a given bill.  Apparently, he just doesn’t bother reading the actual letters to understand our concerns.  I was furious as I read his gloating comment about the EPA not being able to do a damned thing about the lead-poisoning of our Nation’s symbolic bird, the bald Eagle.  Instead of ensuring the protection of Bald Eagles, I guess than means HE approves of the slow lead poisoning of an elegant and supposedly protected symbol of our nation.