Dems Say Interior Boss is Withholding Key Facts

Congressmen demand Zinke halt massive reorganization of department

By Tristan Scott
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke speaks in West Glacier on March 10, 2017. Beacon file photo

DENVER — Two Democratic congressmen are accusing Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke of withholding key information from lawmakers while launching a massive overhaul of his department.

Reps. Raul Grijalva (gree-HAHL’-vuh) of Arizona and Donald McEachin of Virginia sent Zinke a letter Wednesday demanding he halt the reorganization and provide more information.

Zinke’s spokeswoman didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

The reorganization could have widespread impacts in the West, home of most of the public lands and resources the Interior Department manages.

Zinke wants to relocate many top officials from Washington, D.C., to still-undisclosed cities in the West. The plan also would reorganize the department into 13 regions based on rivers and ecosystems instead of the current state boundaries.

Western governors have expressed concerns that would weaken states’ influence on department decisions.