U.S. Department of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has issued a new reorganization plan that will separate the agency into 12 regions. A statement from the department said the plan will increase clarity and simplicity for its activities.
The NMMA said that it has advocated for streamlining the department and was “encouraged” by the action. “Our objective has been to have more efficiency in the department,” Nicole Vasilaros, senior vice president of government relations and legal affairs, told TradeOnlyToday.com. “We think that will help the delays we’ve seen on permitting, infrastructure development and improving access within the areas under their jurisdiction.”
According to the statement, the changes have the goal of reconnecting Interior management with the proper areas. The move from 49 to a dozen unified regions should “provide better management on an ecosystem basis to include critical components such as wildlife corridors, watersheds, and trail systems," according to the statement.
The plan was designed around watershed boundaries that were adjusted to "follow state lines where possible, based on feedback we received from Governors," said Zinke in the statement. "These Unified Regions, rooted in the best science focused on watersheds and ecosystems, will simplify how the Department is organized.”
An Interior spokesperson told TheHill.com that the steps outlined in the memo will occur over the next few months and that the Secretary and deputy Secretary have been working closely with "key House Democrats" to get their support.
Zinke sent the reprogramming letter to Congress and they did not object, according to the spokesperson.