U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has selected Susan Combs, an opponent of the Endangered Species Act and an ally of the oil industry, to oversee federal wildlife policy. In her time as a Texas comptroller, Combs repeatedly fought the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service over enforcing endangered wildlife protections—which she considers federal overreach and a burden for business. Combs' previous nomination for assistant secretary for policy, budget, and management received bipartisan pushback and is stalled in the Senate, so Zinke has posted her elsewhere in the meantime. And in typical Trump administration fashion, she now oversees what she hopes to dismantle. Records show that Combs has disagreed with nearly every species listing from Washington, including protections for the golden-cheeked warbler, a songbird that she claimed hindered “military readiness.” The move is unsurprising from Zinke, who is not exactly a friend of biodiversity. Zinke worked closely with lawmakers last year on bills to allow economic factors to sway whether a species deserves protection and to delist the gray wolf.
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ExplainerUnited States, InternationalJason Bittel
They’re just a handful of the hundreds of species that would be extinct without the 50-year-old law.
Expert BlogNora Apter
Today Congress is holding not just one, but two legislative hearings on six separate bills that would undermine the Endangered Species Act and the species that benefit from its protections.
Expert BlogElly Pepper
The council’s mandate includes counseling Trump on the economic, conservation, and anti-poaching benefits of trophy hunting, of which there are very few.
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.
WASHINGTON – The Department of Interior took steps to invalidate key pieces of a locally-driven plan developed across 11 states to protect the greater sage grouse, an iconic bird surviving on just half of its historic Western range. U.S. Secretary…