Ryan Zinke Is Shamefully Promoting Logging in the Wake of California’s Deadly Wildfires

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, already facing several federal investigations, has sunk to a new low.

A prominent figure in Trump’s plan to roll back environmental regulations, he’s using deadly fires in California to push for policies that would pave the way for more logging in U.S. forests. 

But here’s the truth: Logged areas with less stringent environmental protections lead to the most intense and dangerous fires

The Camp Fire, the deadliest in California history left:

  • 88 people dead
  • 25 people still missing
  • 240 square miles burned
  • 13,972 homes destroyed
  • 528 commercial structures destroyed
  • 4,293 other buildings destroyed

When Trump visited the charred remains of Paradise, the center of the fire, he couldn’t even get the name of the town correct, calling it “Pleasure.” And now Zinke is using this horrific disaster to push for increased logging.

Greg Aplet, science director for the Wilderness Society in Denver, explained Zinke’s sneaky and manipulative approach:

We’ve seen it every time the woods catch on fire. Politicians use the genuine fear of fire to try to drive changes that undermine environmental laws.

Aplet agrees with many wildfire behavior scientists, who believes that protecting communities from fire should involve clearing out dried-out fuels from the forest floor — not live trees.

But here’s the problem for the Trump administration: “The kind of work that needs to be done is work that is not going to provide a lot of logs to the timber industry,” Aplet explains. Clearing out debris is not a money-maker.

Forest ecologist Chad Hanson was part of a 2016 study revealing that logged areas with reduced environmental protections actually have the most intense fires.

“They are trying to use this tragedy to help logging interests, which is one of the most disgusting things things I’ve seen in my career,” says Hanson. “They are trying to eliminate half a century of environmental protections and turn over forests to the logging industry.”

Center for Biological Diversity public lands director Randi Spivak weighs in:

Their so-called solutions could actually worsen wildfire risk. It’s misleading and dangerous to give people a false sense of security that they can log their way out of this, especially in the face of climate change.

The Trump administration is denying any link between climate change and wildfires — even though the major federal government climate report released last week warned that, thanks to rising temperatures, the western U.S. could experience a sixfold increase in wildfires by 2050.

Trump’s response? “I don’t believe it” — even though the report was authored by his own government.

As a resident of California, I am scared.

But what’s especially terrifying here is the Farm Bill, which the House and Senate could finally come to an agreement on, following months of debate to fund $867 billion in food and agriculture programs.

A particularly unsettling provision within the Farm Bill would limit public review and bypass any environmental analysis of forest projects on federal public land. This is currently a sticking point, but Zinke is advocating for a Farm Bill which includes this amendment.

In other words, Zinke and his buddies could just make up the rules on forest management.

Take Action!

Zinke’s so-called solution to the problem of wildfire — ending environmental reviews and allowing the “thinning” of forests, i.e. logging –  could actually worsen the risk of wildfires. We need to make sure this provision does not become part of the Farm Bill.

If you agree, please sign this Care2 petition calling on Congressional leaders to remove from the Farm Bill the House-backed amendments that would essentially remove any kind of environmental reviews of forests on federal land.

Creating a Care2 petition is easy. If you have an issue you care deeply about, why not start your own petition? Here are some guidelines to help you get started and soon the Care2 community will be signing up to support you.


Photo Credit: California National Guard/Flickr


Chad Anderson
Chad Anderson7 months ago

Thank you.

Loredana V
Loredana V7 months ago

Money rules :(

pam w
pam w7 months ago

What? Does he own a logging company?

Paul Carter
Paul Carter7 months ago

The people Trump appoint believe the money they have will make them exempt from the problems they create.

Karin Hanson
Karin Hanson7 months ago

Zinke is just another huuuge lump of S___ floating around in the mango maggots swamp that turned into CESSPOOL!!

Anne Moran
Anne Moran7 months ago

Like they didn't lose enough trees to begin with... - What a lame-brain...

Janis K
Janis K7 months ago

Thanks for sharing.

Shirley S
Shirley S7 months ago

Petition signed

Alea C
Alea C7 months ago

Every single post Trump has filled came from the bottom of a slimy barrel that should have been used for firewood, and Zinke is no exception.

Roberta G
Roberta G7 months ago

Petition signed. Zine is working for logging's corporate interests and for his own financial interests, not the good of the country.