Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Zinke order risks Montana FWP grants Gazette

Zinke order risks Montana FWP grants


Our heralded Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke showed recently how he has no business running this important federal agency for our public lands. Zinke calls himself a Theodore Roosevelt Republican, but he is so in over his head that his utter lack of qualifications for the job could have real implications for our public lands and wildlife habitat.
Zinke fell in with the usual Republican bull about fiscal conservatism and ordered a review of all grants from Interior, including the Pittman-Robertson and Dingell-Johnson taxes. These are paid by sportsmen on guns, ammunition and fishing tackle, and they fund a big chunk of state wildlife agency budgets. The money has strict standards to ensure they benefit fish and wildlife and they have an incredible track record over the years of working to do just that.
But Zinke's brash order could screw that up. It's causing a delay of those funds, which state agencies count on. Here in Montana it could ultimately cost the FWP $20 million in lost revenue and cause us to lose the Grant Marsh habitat purchase near Hardin. These aren't regular tax dollars — these are dollars hunters and anglers have paid.
Tell that to the Navy Seal. He knows how to take orders, and he's taking them from Trump and the other cast of characters running this government. Zinke should give up his job, come home and live off his government pension before he does more damage to our public lands.
 Gary Weiss   Park City

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