Brodie Farquhar: Zinke will go down in history as worst Secretary of the Interior |

Brodie Farquhar: Zinke will go down in history as worst Secretary of the Interior

Dear Editor,

For half a century or so, the United States has been making good progress on clean air and clean water. We’ve brought endangered species back from the brink of extinction, strengthened ecosystems, become less abusive to our environment and made progress on becoming less wasteful and more efficient with resources and energy.

Now, with the Trump administration and especially the efforts of EPA’s Scott Pruitt and the Interior’s Ryan Zinke, we appear to be hell-bent on rolling back all those gains, running backwards toward an era when rivers caught on fire, smog choked major cities, and polluters poisoned air, water, soil, people and wildlife with impunity.

And all of this done in the name of “freedom” and jobs and greater prosperity for all.


Meanwhile, the Trump administration, Republican Congress and conservative jurists ignore the existential, worldwide threat of climate change that is already causing droughts, super wildfires, floods, more powerful storms, rising seas and growing political/economic conflicts that has a rising tide of refugees fleeing famine and war.

It will get much, much worse.

So why is the Steamboat Institute so gaga about inviting Zinke to be keynote speaker at the August Freedom Conference? There’s more than a bit of irony that Zinke is coming to a community and an environment that celebrates and values clean air, clean water, healthy ecosystems and wildlife.

To be sure, Zinke’s anti-environment, pro-fossil energy policies do not directly threaten the immediate environs of Steamboat Springs. Industry learned long ago not to mess with the playgrounds of wealthy people with political influence.

Strip mines, logging operations, drilling rigs – all are to be kept out of sight, out of mind of the one-percenters at play or enjoying beautiful environments from the decks of their multi-million dollar log cabins that sit empty 50 weeks of the year.

The impacts of the Pruitt/Zinke rollback of regulations to protect air, water, wildlife and ecosystems, will accrue in rural America, poor neighborhoods and remote reaches of public and private lands. And while corporations profit from these regulatory “reforms,” the cleanup costs will fall to the taxpayer.

Zinke is not a latter-day Theodore Roosevelt, not by any stretch of the imagination. He is a servant to corporate America, not We the People, and will go down in history as the worst Secretary of Interior, even worse than James Watt.

Nice job, Steamboat Institute.


Brodie Farquhar


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