Eight of the nine who were part of the letter had terms expiring in May, and suspected Interior was running out the clock. The idea of a political statement by board members, made up of national experts in natural resources, financial management, geography and other fields, was disingenuous, he said.
"In an email, Bilmes said she did not resign her post because she is conducting research with other colleagues funded by the National Park Foundation, and wanted to complete her project".
"For the past year we have stood by waiting for the chance to meet and continue the partnership between the NPSAB and the DOI and prescribed by law", chairman Tony Knowles wrote in a departing letter to Zinke. He also noted that it has rescinded regulations concerning biodiversity loss, pollution, and climate change.
Most of the members of the have tendered their resignation over frustrations with Interior Secretary, . Two of the resigning member's appointments had already expired, according to the Interior Department. "I hope that future actions of the Department of Interior demonstrate that is not the case". She called the board members' claim of neglect "patently false", saying the department had been working with the board as recently as earlier this month.
But they were not informed that they were officially off the panel, and added their names to the seven who resigned, he said.
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"At the heart of the dispute is the Trump administration's move in August to scrap a 2016 order by the Obama administration that called for a focus on climate change in managing natural resources in USA parks".
The Coalition to Protect America's National Parks, a nonprofit group composed of current and former National Park Service employees, said it could understand the board members' deep frustration at the prolonged deactivation of the board under Trump and the lack of response from Zinke to numerous requests to meet with him.
Another member, Carolyn Hessler Radelet, submitted a separate letter of resignation. Zinke's policies, from his recommendations to President Trump to shrink and reduce protections for public lands, to opening up the nation's thousands of miles of coastline to offshore oil drilling. The National Parks System Advisory Board was chartered by Congress in 1935 under the Historic Sites, Buildings, and Antiquities Act. "His disregard of the advisory board is just another example of why he has earned an "F" in stewardship".
"We need to make sure our citizens have access to their parks, and with that large of an increase, I think that might hinder some of our people from visiting - especially our Denver people who sit and look at the mountains but maybe can't afford to get there", said Burke, who thinks the price spike might drive more people to buy annual passes, which could ultimately decrease total entrance fee revenue for the park service.
The sharply worded statement underscores the tensions between the President Donald Trump's administration and some public employees over Trump's efforts to roll back environmental protections and boost development of federal lands. He wrote he was working on January 8 to renew the board's charter, fill vacancies and hold a meeting in a few weeks.