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Mar 15, 2018 144 tweets 26 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
THREAD: @SecretaryZinke’s hearing before @NatResources / @NRDems starts in 5 min. Live tweets and fact-checks below. Stream:
First up: @RepRobBishop thanks Zinke for focusing on "core" functions rather than "special interest groups." Translation: "Core" = oil, gas, uranium companies. "Special interest" = public input.
Next up, welcome from @RepRaulGrijalva, promising to "exercise oversight responsibilities." Intends to focus on Zinke's "stewardship of taxpayer dollars" in light of Zinke's proposed budget cuts. First mention of Zinke's $139,000 door.
Grijalva also brings up Zinke's travel to western PA just ahead of #PA18 special election, where he posed with GOP candidate, a possible Hatch Act violation, and other trips where Zinke combined fundraisers with official events.
Grijalva also brings up Zinke's proposed evisceration of @LWCFCOALITION in light of Zinke's ethical lapses. Says Zinke has not responded to any letters about ethics questions.
Grijalva points out Zinke kept national monuments report secret, public only found out thanks to @eilperin's leak of the document.
Another opening statement from @RepHuffman. Calls Zinke's budget "deeply disappointing."
Huffman: "This is a budget that prioritizes the profit that oil and gas companies can drill... and otherwise wring from our public lands."
Huffman: New DOI strategic plan eliminates all references to climate change.
.@RepHuffman: "We should not have to drill our parks in order to save them."
Huffman: "Your department has re-opened the door to more elephant tusks and lion hides."
Huffman points out China is now leading on international wildlife conservation while Zinke abdicates America's role.
Huffman says Zinke's policies "surely have TR rolling in his grave."
Now @SecretaryZinke's opening remarks. Says Trump is "keeping his promises."
Falsely claims his public lands infrastructure proposal is "the largest in the history of this nation."

Fact check: Not even close. CCC was 3x larger.
Zinke: "All types of energy, not just oil and gas."
Zinke: "Infrastructure is not an expense, it's an investment."
Zinke: "We are simply loving our parks to death."
Zinke turns to department reorganization. Cites Teddy Roosevelt and "as a retired Navy SEAL" in one sentence. Drink twice.
Zinke: "Under President Trump, we are pursuing and reaching energy dominance."
Zinke: "I wish there was a battery."
Q&A starts. @replouiegohmert up first. "Congratulations on growing ice in Antarctica. You must be responsible."
Gohmert on offshore, blames Clinton and Obama admin for costing $10B in revenue.
Gohmert: "What lands do you have, how do we make up this terrible shortfall?"
Zinke: $11B shortfall didn't happen overnight. Cites extreme outlier year of 2008. How much of an outlier? (Via @CAPenergypolicy )
Zinke claims infrastructure proposal doesn't affect @LWCFCOALITION.

Fact check: Technically true. His budget separately cuts #LWCF by more than 100%.
Back to Gohmert. Wants to raid #LWCF for maintenance rather than land protection.
Back to @RepHuffman. References Tuesday's exchange with @SenatorCantwell about offshore, asks about California. Zinke answers with elephants. Huffman isn't having it.
Zinke: "I'm going to have California down as opposed."
Huffman moves on to water, @usbr cuts in Zinke's budget. While these programs are being gutted, department is moving ahead with Shasta Dam. Q: Are you aware this program violates CA law?
Zinke: I agree @usbr is challenged. Haven't made a determination on Shasta.
Huffman asks about @DOIDepSec's work lobbying for CA water districts. Can you guarantee none of this will go to a sweetheart land deal? Zinke: Yes.
Now @repdonyoung going off on elephants. Blames Obama for poachers.
Young asks about plans for drilling in Eastern AK. Zinke thinks he's asking about RMPs. Promises to work through line-by-line.
Young asks about staffing to do bear counts at @BLMNational @USFWS, suggests staff is "slow-walking" him.
Zinke: We need to make sure Interior bureaus work together. Points to his reorg maps.
Zinke: We're proposing science based on watersheds, ecology, so departments have unified regions, can talk to each other.

(Fact check: Bureaus can and do talk to each other today.)
Now @NormaJTorres points out the devastating cuts Zinke's budget would have on tribes. Asks about tribal jobs bill, says DOI promised feedback which hasn't come yet. Asks for timeline.
Torres goes back to offshore drilling. Points to Santa Barbara blowout. If Florida got an exemption, why can't California?
Zinke tries to change history, claims Florida didn't get an exemption. Fact check:
Zinke doubles down: "I could have put Florida off the list at the beginning," says that would have been arbitrary and capricious.
Now to @RepRobBishop. Connects offshore drilling to lawsuits and opposition to Bears Ears monument evisceration. Asking rhetorical, "I don't think you can answer that."
Bishop: "Allow that in my state first, the rest of you can go screw yourselves."
Zinke talks about Mission 66, compares to NPS centennial, points out nothing big happened to address backlog. Goes back to LWCF.
Bishop confuses #LWCF, which uses existing offshore revenue, to Zinke's proposal, which would only be funded by new energy revenue.
After Zinke's explainer, Bishop clarifies new vs baseline revenue.
Now to @RepHanabusa. Points out her grandparents were interned during WWII, but she didn't know until late. "They didn't speak about it." Says Zinke's budget zeroes out nominal amount ($2m) for grant program that keeps history alive.
Zinke: The priorities were set to fix our stuff first. This program may have been caught up in that. Promises to look at it.
Going back -- fact check on Zinke's claim that he didn't exempt Florida from offshore drilling:
Now @RepDLamborn up. "I'm excited about what you're doing." Starts w/ energy revenue, reorg. Back to @usbr and Colorado, asks about relocating DC jobs to Colorado.
Zinke talks about reorg/map process. In 5 years, 40% of Interior is of retirement age. Says it's expensive for GS-5, GS-7 employees to live in big cities like SF, Denver. When a GS-15 retires in DC, could replace with a GS-5 in a smaller city.
Lamborn asks about illegal marijuana grows on public land. Zinke says it's an environmental problem b/c of chemicals used. Says he's looking at forming task forces.
Now @RepMcEachin asks about sexual harassment policies. Wants to see a draft policy, Zinke says final policy almost done. Asks if it meets EEOC standards. Zinke: "I take it seriously," blames NPS advisory committee.
McEachin not having it, asks for specific guarantee on EEOC standards. Zinke says solicitors are going over various proposals. "I'm sure EEO is a part of it."
McEachin asks about harassment plans at the bureau level. Will you send us those plans? Points out his request for a hearing has been ignored by @RepRobBishop.
McEachin asks if the policies are done? Zinke: There's no final copy. He's getting testy.
McEachin asks why Virginia hasn't gotten the same consideration on offshore that Florida got. Zinke returns to revisionist history on Florida.
Zinke: "I've talked to every governor," almost every member. Most of the districts on the coast are opposed to offshore drilling. Governors almost all opposed.
Now @RobWittman on Chesapeake Bay cleanup. Doesn't mention the Bay is a huge target in Zinke's budget. baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/…
Wittman has yet to ask a question. Almost out of time.
Wittman gives Zinke a few seconds to talk about everything. He congratulates new tribes in VA that just got recognition.
Now Rep. Bordallo of Guam (not on Twitter!?), invites Zinke to visit. Points out Guam and other territories face fiscal crisis because of US tax code. But Zinke budget proposes 11% to insular affairs budget.
Zinke says budget not finished. Your message is being heard.
Bordallo: What is Trump admin position on letting citizens in territories vote in presidential elections?
Zinke: That's way outside my box. It's a constitutional issue. Will ask the president.
Now @RepMcClintock up, starts with water. "What's better, water shortage or water abundance?" Zinke says lack of storage, McClintock interrupts, points to reservoirs nearly dry after drought.
McClintock wants more reservoirs. Not letting Zinke answer questions.
McClintock goes to forests. Zinke wants more logging to stop fires.
Bishop: We've got 90 minutes of questions, Zinke is leaving in 40. Please go faster.
Now @RepJimCosta, asking about CA water, WIN Act. Zinke: Much of the debate is internal within California.
Zinke: Willing to discuss fed gov getting out of water issues that are only within CA.
Costa asks about real-time fish monitoring, whether budget has enough for it. Zinke pivots to working across agencies.
Costa asks about park entrance fee hikes. Zinke: They were just proposals, no decisions made yet.
Now @CongressmanGT thanks Zinke for his possible Hatch Act violation going to PA to appear with #PA18 candidate.
Thompson: I have more abandoned mine sites in my district, we're very proud of coal.
Now Del. @Kilili_Sablan is up. Asking about infrastructure funds for N. Marianas Islands. Zinke: I recognize territories are different, need for transparency in grants.
Sablan asks why N. Marianas NM management plan is still not done. When will draft plan be done? Zinke: Principal issue is science, we're trying to find science to back up my commercial fishing recommendation.
Fact check: This is not how science works.
Now @RepGosar is up. Asks about critical minerals, claims Zinke is a geologist. (He's not.)
Gosar asks about Grand Canyon beefalo, wants hunting bill to go forward. (Backstory from @outsidemagazine: outsideonline.com/1802476/beefal…)
Gosar: Your offshore plan was a breath of fresh air. Wants to see more drilling. (Easy for someone in a landlocked state to say.)
Now @nikiinthehouse is up. Zinke repeats that MA is opposed to offshore drilling, has nothing to drill anyway.
Tsongas asks about sexual harassment. Points out in DOD, nothing happened until a general was put in charge. Hopes Zinke will consider that fact going forward.
Zinke goes back to "I fired 4, will fire 400 if necessary." No details or timeline on plan, though.
Tsongas: When will you nominate an @NatlParkService director? Zinke blames White House, points out his @USGS nominee took a year to get official nomination, then says "it's not the White House."
Zinke says he'll go past his 2 hours. We're in for the long haul, gang!
Now @RepTipton is up, asking about Arkansas Valley water for SE CO. Says program was zeroed out in budget. Zinke says @usbr is not transferring title to projects, should happen more often when appropriate.
Tipton: Colorado would be prime location for BLM HQ. Zinke: Look at my map! Look at it!
Now @RepRaulGrijalva follows up on scientific integrity: Should DOI publicize scientific data even if you or WH disagree with it? Zinke: I don't change a comma, but I look at it before it goes out.
Grijalva follows up on @USGS scientists who resigned in protest. Zinke demands apology for suggesting Alaska report could have been used to help energy companies.
Grijalva: Should DOI IG operate independently, and fully funded? Zinke: IG follows the law. I think budget is sufficient.
Grijalva submits statement from numerous veterans, retired, disabled groups condemning Zinke's Tuesday remarks blaming them for proposed fee increase.
Now @Raul_Labrador up. Asking about grazing in wilderness areas. Will you review manual to make sure it's consistent with congressional intent? Zinke: We haven't lived up to obligation and intent of Wilderness Act.
Labrador asks about "Owyhee 68" permits that have been in litigation for 20 years. Zinke: Could have been intentional to slow-roll these things.
Now @RepDarrenSoto is up. Asking about manatees dying because of cold winter. Will you hold the line on threatened status? Zinke: I'll work with you. Cold winter has affected a lot of species in Florida.
Zinke: Everglades won't be fixed until we get the water flow right. Working hard to come up with plan.
Soto asks about new reservoir/marsh that requires 50% federal funding. Will you support funding? Zinke: Need to work with Army Corps to prioritize new starts across agencies.
Zinke: I promise no new offshore in Florida, but I haven't promised that yet because there's a process.
Now @RepLaMalfa on Klamath dam removal. Goes after Zinke's "bag man up there" for wanting to remove dams.
LaMalfa asks Zinke to remove DOI from dam removal agreements.
LaMalfa: Will you allow NEPA process to finish, and remove DOI signature from dam agreements?
Zinke: I'll work with you on it. Interior doesn't have a role. LaMalfa disagrees.
Now @RepAnthonyBrown is up. Talks about the importance of public lands to veterans, asks about Zinke's Tuesday statement blaming vets for fee hikes. Quoting Zinke's words back to him. Zinke: "It's true."
Zinke: I have no intention of changing the policy on disabled vets. Brown wants Zinke to justify his claim with stats. Zinke: "We don't track who's in the car."
Brown goes back to Zinke on Tuesday: Are you expecting a drop in demand for renewable energy? Zinke: Our budget is consistent with expected demand. Brown: Which you expect to decrease?
Now @RepWesterman thanks Zinke for going to work on a horse.
Zinke goes back to justifying his private flights, claims "there was no alternative."

Fact check: He could have flown commercial out of Las Vegas had he not given an inspirational speech to his biggest donor's hockey team.
Now @RepRubenGallego asks about public comments on national monuments. Zinke doesn't have numbers.
Fact check: We do. medium.com/westwise/ameri…
Gallego: How many meetings w/ industry reps did you take before your monument recommendations? Zinke doesn't answer, says I was criticized for a helicopter ride. Gallego isn't having it, demands answer.
Gallego: The answer is 180. Zinke: I'm sure the other side is comparable. Gallego: How about Bears Ears coalition? Zinke: Multiple meetings. Claims Rebecca Benally represents Navajo Nation. Fact check: She does not.
Gallego, a marine, takes a swipe at SEALs not being able to do math.
Now @RepGarretGraves is up. Asks about revenue sharing programs. Asks why offshore states don't get more. How do I explain that back home? Zinke: I want to make sure your coast remains a working coast, not a disappearing coast.
Zinke goes back to infrastructure plan not affecting #LWCF, again ignores his budget that cuts LWCF by more than 100%.
Graves: I won't defend efforts to send LWCF money to other states. Zinke still hasn't acknowledged his 100% budget cut.
Now @RepBarragan, starting with offshore in CA. Zinke: We'll shape the plan to reflect interests of communities.
Barragan: I asked for details of your private flights. You haven't replied. Private flights coincide with events with political donors. (Fact check: True.) Will you commit to responding to my letteR?
Zinke: I replied on October 31 to ranking member. Barragan: Is that to me? Zinke: That's to ranking member.
Barragan: This is a pattern that's impossible to ignore. Will you commit to responding to me in a timely manner?
Zinke: I'd like to, but you need to commit to courtesy.
Zinke claims he traveled "all day from Pahrump, Nevada" before taking private plane. Fact check:
Now @RepLizCheney on viewsheds, regulatory frameworks. Zinke: With horizontal drilling, wind, solar, our framework isn't keeping pace with industry innovation.
Now @RepLowenthal going back to earlier exchange w/ Grijalva on USGS scientists resigning. "We assume you made no changes." Underlying q is why you requested to see it before it was released. Quotes from manual that says reports w/ econ implications are not shared pre-release.
Lowenthal: Why did you go against market implications policy? Zinke: There's a chain of command. I have every right to review documents before release.
Zinke: I wanted to know why two studies with same data produced different results. It makes a difference on Interior policy.
Lowenthal: Did you not know of discoveries over the last 8 years? Zinke: "I'm a geologist."

Fact check: He's not.
Now @CongressmanHice is up. Lobs a softball about energy and conservation together.
Zinke: Every time you're paying $60 rather than $100 to fill up, that's American energy at work. He carefully avoided his previous error giving Trump credit for Obama's drop in gas prices. politifact.com/truth-o-meter/…
Hice: What about battlefield protection? Zinke: Infrastructure infrastructure infrastructure! Pay no attention to my proposal to cut 2,000 @NatlParkService jobs.
Hice: How can we not repeat this maintenance backlog problem? Zinke: Pay no attention to my proposed 16% budget cut across Interior.
Now @RepJimmyGomez pushing for details on projected demand for oil/gas/coal. Zinke's coal budget increases 80% even as coal demand drops. Zinke: Inspections are important.
Up next: @RepMikeJohnson, pushing on shrinking shoreline in LA. "The Gulf Coast is our front line."
Johnson: The revenue for infrastructure comes from offshore, but you haven't given specific numbers for baseline projections. Zinke: It requires Congress. Goes back to extreme outlier 2008 numbers.
Zinke: We can catch up in 8 years "with favorable conditions." Fact check: He has not said what "favorable" is. 2008 numbers had oil at $140+/barrel.
Now @RepDonBeyer, starts with body cameras for park police. Asks why it's not in budget. Wants funding beyond pilot project. Zinke: We're looking at it.
Beyer on wildlife trafficking: Budget proposes drastic cut in funding. Back to elephant trophys. How do you reconcile w/ Trump's previous comments?

Zinke: Court required us to change process. Policy has not changed. Still aligned with president's policy.
Now Rep. Gianforte on wildfires. What lessons have you learned? Zinke: Too much dead and dying timber.
Zinke calls for "active management," wants categorical exclusion to fast-track logging.
Gianforte points to his/Westerman's logging bill. Zinke: "I think it's a great bill."
Gianforte: What do you need for better land management. Zinke: Historic Preservation Act made my doors so expensive. We got it down to $75k.
Almost at the end! @RepJohnCurtis is last up.
Curtis asks about water district projects. Zinke asks for authority to transfer title on completed projects.
Curtis asks about reservation systems in Utah national parks. Zinke: Looking at transportation/bus systems to limit cars inside. Looking at apps to track trail congestion.
That's it, folks! Stay tuned for some more follow-ups and fact checks from the day. Thanks for hanging with us.

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