The Department of the Interior is a sprawling federal agency that manages lands, wildlife and scientific research across the U.S. including through the National Park Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Geological Survey.
Although much of the agency’s real-estate is in the West, here in Maryland it also has an important presence, managing – for example – the Fort McHenry National Monument in Baltimore, the Assateague Island National Seashore, the Baltimore Washington Parkway, and the C & O Canal trail along the Potomac River.
For years, the agency’s motto read: “The Department of the Interior protects and manages the Nation's natural resources and cultural heritage; and provides scientific and other information about those resources.”
When President Trump took office and appointed former Montana Congressman Ryan Zinke to run the agency, they updated the motto to: “Our Mission: Protecting America's Great Outdoors and Powering Our Future.”
Zinke set about almost immediately to help the energy industry obtain more power over public lands by lifting an Obama-era ban on new coal mines on federal property, and lifting regulations for oil and gas companies that want to drill there.