Ryan Zinke’s Disastrous Year, By the Numbers

Zinke’s first year as secretary of the Interior Department has been a disaster for the environment and Americans who value it. The numbers don’t lie.

Ron Sachs/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images

  • Number of national monuments Zinke has proposed to shrink or change: 10
  • Percentage of land within Utah’s Bears Ears National Monument that Zinke’s plan shrinks: 85 percent
  • Percentage of public comments sent to Zinke that opposed changing existing U.S. national monuments under review by the administration: 99.2 percent
  • Number of western states impacted by Zinke’s decision to revoke one of the largest conservation agreements ever struck, which covered 67 million acres of land and protected the greater sage grouse: 11

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  • Number of coastal states in the United States facing offshore oil drilling lease sales: all 22 of them
  • Percentage of waters of the outer continental shelf blocked from oil drilling under the Obama administration: 94 percent. Percentage of those waters opened to drilling by Zinke in 2017: 90 percent
  • Total acres of public land offered for oil and gas leasing under the Obama administration in 2016: 1,946,953. Acres of public land offered for leasing under Zinke in 2017: 11,859,396―about the combined size of Maryland and New Hampshire

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  • Increase in public land acres offered for oil and gas leasing between 2016 and 2017: 6 times
  • Acres of public land currently under lease for oil and gas drilling: 27,207,018
  • Minimum bid per acre offered by oil and gas companies to secure a lease on public lands: $2 (price of a Dunkin’ Donuts large coffee: $2.09)
  • Year minimum bid price for oil and gas leasing on federal lands was set: 1920
  • Cost to U.S. taxpayers of repeal of a rule intended to ensure companies extracting oil and gas pay fair royalty value: about $75 million a year
  • Number of consumer/public interest or conservation groups on Zinke’s Royalty Policy Committee, established to improve management of the federal mineral revenue program: 0
  • Entry price to enjoy the wonders of the Grand Canyon under a Zinke proposal: $70 (current entry price to the Grand Canyon: $30)
  • Cost to U.S. taxpayers for flight Zinke took from Las Vegas to Montana on a plane owned by oil and gas company executives: $12,375
  • Price of the helicopter trip Zinke ordered to fly the 165 miles from Yorktown, Virginia, to Washington, D.C., in order to be on time for a horseback ride with Vice President Mike Pence: about $6,250
  • Number of “secretarial” flags Zinke requires hoisted when he is at Department of the Interior headquarters: 1
  • Number of lawsuits against the Department of the Interior won by NRDC in Zinke’s first year in office: 1
  • Number of NRDC lawsuits pending against the Department of the Interior as of February 2018: 10

A year ago, Ryan Zinke rode into office as secretary of the Department of the Interior on a high horse—literally. Since then, he has overseen the single-largest raid ever on America’s public lands. Under his leadership, the department has effectively handed over the reins to the country’s precious natural resources to the fossil fuel industry, all while muting the public’s voice on how our public lands are used. 

"Throughout Zinke’s first year in office, NRDC has taken a stand to protect our special places and all they support—and we will continue to fight,” said Theo Spencer, a senior advocate at NRDC. “We will not abide the giveaway of our lands and our inalienable right to be heard without a challenge." 

For more information, contact Margie Kelly, 312-651-7935, mkelly@nrdc.org.

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