Interior Secretary Zinke fiddles on climate while America’s national parks burn

September 2017 is quickly becoming one of the most devastating months in history for America’s national parks and forests. From Montana to Oregon to California, national treasures in Glacier National Park, the Columbia River Gorge, and Yosemite National Park have been destroyed or threatened by wildfires.

While any single season or event cannot be attributed to climate change alone, this summer’s fires, along with the string of hurricanes that are developing one after another in the Atlantic Ocean, and record-breaking heat in the West, are all consistent with what scientists have been warning about for years: humans have changed the earth’s climate, and that change is costing both lives and billions of dollars across the country.

Considering the harsh dose of reality this summer is giving to science deniers, one might expect the National Park Service to step up its plans for addressing the impact of climate change on our parks. Sadly, the opposite is happening.

The Interior Department, led by Secretary Ryan Zinke, last month quietly issued a memo rescinding an Obama-era order that encouraged park managers to consider the effects of climate change when planning for the future.

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