Guest Column

Missouri Breaks Doesn’t Need Fixing

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke I ask you, as a fellow Montanan, what kind of legacy do you intend to leave behind?

When we were promised that the swamp would be drained we didn’t think this is what you meant.

Missouri Breaks was designated after exhaustive review and public comment and represents a significant achievement in American democracy; many diverse interests were recognized and incorporated into a use-plan that ensures the ongoing safety of our American heritage. There are few things more American than public lands. As a fly-fisherman and an American, I’m deeply concerned by your department’s review of one of my favorite fishing destinations, and of the 21 other prized American heritage sites that you are leading inquiries into dismantling.

It’s hard to see this review as anything less than opening a door to a land grab for special interests. Yet another example of hardworking Americans losing out. If your promise was to drain the swamp, removing special interests from Washington and placing the American people back in their due position as the sole benefactors of our democracy, this review already represents a major failure and an serious breach of trust. There is no excuse for straining our environmental resources for the benefit of special interests. Putting hard-working Americans second to whomever lines suit-pockets in Washington is simply reprehensible. You can bet that voters will remember what you choose to do during the next election, and that our country will remember your choices for generations to come.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke I ask you, as a fellow Montanan, what kind of legacy do you intend to leave behind? As you invoke the legacy of Roosevelt, who brought an end to America’s deepest economic depression by putting Americans back to work and expanding public lands in the process, you have willfully offered the opportunity for history to compare your actions to his. How will you appear beside him in the history books? Will we someday name a national forests in your honor? What kind of public lands would you like your grandchildren to roam? Do you envision them encountering a landscape dotted with oil and gas wells, rivers devoid of insects and fish? Or would you prefer they encounter the wild bounty that you and I both know that public lands can provide under smart management? Think carefully about this one. You may someday be gone but your actions will never be forgotten.