Commentary: DENVER—A draft of President Trump’s infrastructure plan leaked to Axios today, laying out the administration’s “principles” for new infrastructure legislation. In response to the leak, the Center for Western Priorities issued the following statement from Executive Director Jennifer Rokala:
“Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has said time and again that he would oppose any attempt to sell off America’s public lands. Once again, the secretary is telling the public one thing while doing another behind closed doors. This plan calls for the disposal of federal lands, it’s right there in black and white. The secretary owes the American public an honest answer: will he continue to be complicit in President Trump’s attempts to sell off our public lands?”
On page 3 of the infrastructure plan, the Trump administration calls for the “Disposition of Federal Real Property” by executive order, making clear its intention to sell America’s public lands.
The paragraph reads in full:
Disposition of Federal Real Property: would establish through executive order the authority to allow for the disposal of Federal assets to improve the overall allocation of economic resources in infrastructure investment.
A major part of Secretary Zinke’s political persona is his opposition to transferring or selling off public lands. In 2016, he resigned as a delegate to the Republican National Committee over its support for transferring public lands to the states. In his confirmation hearing, Secretary Zinke testified that he is “absolutely against the sale of public lands.” Since becoming Interior Secretary, however, his commitment to protecting public lands and opposing transfers or sell-offs has been repeatedly questioned.