Zinke hires longtime critic of the Endangered Species Act to senior post at the Interior Department
Robert Gordon, an outspoken critic of the Endangered Species Act, will now join the Trump administration to help fight it. U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke recently hired Gordon for the senior role of deputy assistant secretary for policy, management and budget—just as the administration is ramping up efforts to weaken the bedrock conservation law. Working in both government and at industry-friendly think tanks, Gordon has argued repeatedly that the ESA is too expensive to enforce. This recurring talking point has been proven false, however, by accounting for what are called "ecosystem benefits"—the value of, say, food pollinated by protected bees, or decreased medical costs thanks to protected birds who eat disease-carrying mosquitoes. Gordon also regularly twists the facts on the bill's effectiveness, claiming the law has a “poor record of recovering species.” In fact, since its implementation in 1973, the ESA has helped save 99 percent of listed species. Zinke is no doubt recruiting an ally to help push through his agency’s unpopular rollbacks in an unprecedented attack on the nation's most vulnerable plants and animals.