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Sec Zinke Hints At Major Changes For Interior Department

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke says removing bureaucratic obstacles to development on federal land can create jobs and offer hope to nearby communities.

Zinke spoke Tuesday at the Western Governors' Association annual meeting in his hometown of Whitefish, Montana. He says the Interior Department and other land management agencies need to better cooperate, and hinted of major changes in store.

"So we're going to go through a period of reorganization, probably on a scale of 100 years," Zinke said. "And we're going to address how to be more joint."

Zinke says right now, agencies that evaluate the same project often end up providing conflicting opinions. Zinke also called for more offshore drilling, which he says can provide more than enough revenue to offset an $11.5 billion maintenance backlog in national parks.

Nada Culver with The Wilderness Society calls Zinke's remarks a ploy to turn over public land to the oil, gas and coal industries.

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