The department of the interior is not shedding any tears over the mass-resignation of its advisory board. In a statement issued by the department on Wednesday, it said: "It is patently false to say the Department had not engaged the board when as recently as January 8 we were working with the board to renew their charter, schedule a meeting, and fill vacancies."
Earlier this week, nine members of the National Park Advisory Board resigned from their posts, citing the facts that they have not had access to Zinke and felt that climate change issues were not being adequately addressed.
Tony Knowles, the departing board chairman, told The Washington Post that the board is required to meet twice a year, but has not met at all since Trump took office. He also said members of the board were surprised to not be consulted on Interior’s recent decisions to increase visitor fees and reverse a ban on plastic water bottles in the park system.
The advisory board, which included republicans as well as democrats appointed by former President Obama, was established 35 years ago to advise the secretary of the interior on the management of national parks and monument. Eight of the resigning board members’ terms were set to end this May, at which point Zinke would appoint new members.
In a statement, the Department of the Interior accused the departing members of turning a blind eye to reports of "ethics and management failures, all while taking credit for the extensive work of private companies during the NPS centennial celebration."