The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Jayson O’Neill, (406) 200-8582 

The Trump Administration's Four Years of Attacks On Our Public Lands

A look back at The Department Of Interior’s culture of corruption under Trump.


Over the past four years, the Trump administration has unilaterally ushered in the largest reductions to public lands protections and scrapped the largest habitat protection agreement in history, discredited science and climate science, issued countless rollbacks to bedrock environmental protections for corporate special interests, and repeatedly run afoul of the law. On the eve of National Public Lands Day, Western Values Project is issuing a report affirming Trump's record as the worst public lands president in history and detailing the corruption behind his administration's Department of the Interior.

"Trump's culture of corruption has put millions of Americans at risk during his presidency. From corporate bailouts and sweetheart deals to anointing unqualified, unconfirmed, racist xenophobes to top level positions and silencing science, this administration has committed nothing short of public malfeasance. The Interior Department has a duty to uphold the law and protect our public lands, sacred heritage, waterways, and wildlife. But in Trump's Interior, corrupt officials like former mega-lobbyist David Bernhardt and his cast of swamp creatures have been embroiled in scandal after scandal -- and even violated the law -- to advance their corrupt agenda," said Jayson O'Neill, Western Values Project director.
Here is a look back on the sheer folly that is the Trump administration's public lands agency:
  • Scandal-plagued Ryan Zinke resigned in disgrace as interior secretary while he was the subject of several probes into his conduct during his time leading the agency.
  • During former mega-lobbyist Bernhardt's recusal period while he was deputy secretary, the Interior Department completed or moved forward with 25 policy actions requested or supported by at least 16 of his former clients.
  • Just four days after his Senate confirmation as the new interior secretary, Bernhardt became the subject of a multifaceted investigation for numerous ethics violations that is still ongoing.
  • Interior officials led the charge to tear down America's bedrock environmental laws, including the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the Endangered Species Act, and Migratory Bird Treaty Act.
  • The Trump administration is responsible for the largest reduction of federal land protection in the nation's history.
  • Across the administration, science has been ignored, silenced, or marginalized to advance Trump and his allies' corporate agenda.
In many ways this is just the tip of the iceberg when looking at corruption and self-dealing throughout the Trump administration. With National Public Lands Day this weekend, it is important to remember President Trump and his cast of corrupt cronies' record of being, unequivocally, the worst administration for America's public lands and environment. Attempts by the administration and its Senate allies to greenwash their record should face a strong rebuke with their own dirty histories.

Read the full Western Values Project research report on the Trump administration's four years of corruption here.

Western Values Project brings accountability to the national conversation about Western public lands and national parks conservation - a space too often dominated by industry lobbyists and their allies in government.