President Donald Trump and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke have repeatedly said they oppose selling off federal lands.
“I want to keep the lands great, and you don’t know what the state is going to do,” Trump told Field & Stream magazine in January 2016. He re-emphasized this in a subsequent interview with the Outdoor Sportsman Group: “We’re not looking to sell off land.”
It was over this very issue that Zinke—a former Montana congressman—resigned as a delegate to the Republican National Convention in 2016. And in a speech one day after arriving at his new post, Zinke promised Interior staffers: “You can hear it from my lips. We will not sell or transfer public land.”
But a leaked White House infrastructure plan has many conservation groups concerned that Trump and Zinke could soon be singing a different tune: that of the Republican Party, whose platform calls for transferring control of federal lands to states.
Trump and Zinke have both said they are against transferring control to states.