Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke Briefs Press About The Agency’s Budget – Significant Income Drop During Obama Years
U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke briefed the press this week on his agency's budget, which President Trump calls 'The New Foundation For American Greatness.'
One fact became clear as Zinke ran through the various departments of his agency, income from federal lands dropped significantly during the years that Barack Obama was President.
"The President's budget proposes $11.7 billion for the year, and will save taxpayers about $1.6 billion," Zinke began. "That puts us on track to balance America's budget by 2027. The budget does prioritize America's energy independence, what the President calls America's energy dominance, but it does look at all energy, to include oil, gas and renewable."
Zinke then focused on the Obama years and the income from 2008 to 2016.
"In 2008, just so you know, we had about $18 billion of revenue in offshore," he said. "Last year, we had $2.6 billion a year, and that represents a drop in revenue from the Department of the Interior, just in offshore alone, of about $15.5 billion.To put it in perspective, our park service infrastructure is around $11.5 billion behind. The entirely of that backlog would be made up in one year, plus having $3 billion more in capital investment."
Zinke said his agency can no longer afford to squander its opportunities for economic growth.
"When you drop $15.5 billion in offshore alone, and then you add in our lack of ability to harvest timber in a sustainable manner, and our other revenue sources, we dropped from a total of about $26 billion in 2008 to about $9 billion in 2016," he said. " Here at Interior, we're striving to be transparent and reactive to push more authority out from Washington, D.C. to more of working with the states and local communities in a more collaborative manner."
Zinke, a former Congressman from Montana, was selected by President Trump to be his Interior Secretary. A special election to fill his empty House seat will be decided on Thursday.