Secretary Zinke goes on Mediterranean vacation with only one week left to decide the fate of more than a dozen monuments he’s never visited

He promised a rigorous analysis. Instead we got a sham review and a foreign vacation.

Ryan and Lola Zinke on vacation in the Mediterranean | Twitter

One week from today, Interior Secretary Zinke is due to decide the fate of dozens of national monuments protected over the last two decades. Secretary Zinke, who President Trump placed in charge of the review, promised that he would listen to and engage with local communities and national monument stakeholders before permanently closing any national monument lands.

Rather than spending his final week hearing from local communities who have worked tirelessly to protect their natural and cultural heritage as national monuments, Secretary Zinke is on vacation in the Mediterranean. His wife, Lola Zinke, tweeted a picture early this morning of herself and Secretary Zinke enjoying a sunrise on the Bosphorus Strait.

With only seven days remaining in the review, the secretary has failed to visit most of the national monuments on the chopping block. Of the 27 monuments under consideration for elimination, Secretary Zinke has visited and met with stakeholders at only 8 of them. The visits Secretary Zinke has made were marked by controversy, failing to meet key stakeholders and even admitting to a group of veterans in New Mexico that his mind was made up to eliminate national monuments.

The secretary is not expected to make other site visits prior to the August 24th deadline. As our deputy director, Greg Zimmerman, told reporters today:

“Our national monuments are full of beautiful places to take a summer trip. Secretary Zinke promised a rigorous analysis of national monuments, but what the American public got was a sham review and a foreign vacation. If he bothered to listen, Secretary Zinke would have found that national monuments are cornerstones of Western economies, that they protect exceptional and unique lands, and, most of all, that virtually no Americans support eliminating national monuments. I worry, instead, he’s moving to permanently shut down national monuments.”