Nine members of National Parks board quit in protest

19 January, 2018, 02:26 | Author: Gregory Stephens
  • Nine members of National Parks board quit in protest

The remaining members of the advisory board are Harvard University public finance professor Linda Bilmes and University of Maryland marine science professor Rita Colwell. "And yet, this administration has shown no interest in benefiting from their expertise". Tony Knowles (D), handed in their resignations.

Nine of the 12 members said Zinke hadn't heard out their agenda for the parks service, which oversees national historic sites.

Since then, as explained in the letter, the board had repeatedly tried and failed to secure a meeting with the new interior secretary. However, from all of the events of this past year I have a profound concern that the mission of stewardship, protection, and advancement of our National Parks has been set aside.

The board was established in 1935 and is required to meet twice each year, though that has yet to happen under Trump.

The Washington Post, which first reported the resignations, said a 10th member stepped down Wednesday.

In May, the Bureau of Land Management suspended Colorado's four Resource Advisory Councils until September as part of a national review of the agencies advisory boards and committees. The current board has enlisted the support of more than 160 outside subject matter experts. But Knowles said in an interview with Alaska Public Radio.

"We welcome their resignations and would expect nothing less than quitting from members who found it convenient to turn a blind eye to women being sexually harassed at National Parks", Interior Department spokeswoman Heather Swift said in an emailed statement.

Faustinos said she's leaving the board with "the deepest respect" for the Park Service and its staff.

The majority of members on the U.S. I hope that future actions of the Department of Interior demonstrate that this is not the case.

"With all of the issues facing our National Park System, from a more than $11 billion maintenance backlog to budget cuts and staffing issues, this is the very time the Advisory Board should be consulted", she said.

Gretchen Long, a board member from Wilson, Wyo., said in an email that the nine board members resigned given the administration's seeming attitude that the group's work "could be so summarily dismissed".

The sharply worded statement underscores the tensions between the President Donald Trump's administration and some public employees over Trump's efforts to roll back environmental protections and boost development of federal lands.

The department has also moved to renew the board's charter. Knowles says the National Parks System Advisory Board is different because it was chartered by Congress. In 2017, Zinke also raised a furor when he proposed tripling the entry fees for some of the most popular national parks in the nation. "Whether it's offshore drilling, wildlife protection, or managing our national parks, the Interior Secretary alone does not get to decide what activities happen on publicly owned lands that make up one-fifth of the United States", she said.

Until Zinke names new advisory board members, the US will not have a body that can designate national historic or natural landmarks.


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