He made it perfectly clear where he stood
Every time a new president is elected, a change in ideology and policy is bound to follow. That said, it stands to reason that the election of Donald Trump as Commander in Chief has changed the political climate in the country more so than most. There’s no wonder as to why. Trump is nothing if not outspoken and inflammatory and he has made quick work of gaining serious political enemies.
In an age where anything and everything can be made public instantaneously, those who are speaking out against Trump have the speed of the Internet to help spread their message and beliefs. When you’re an employee of the U.S. Department of the Interior, it goes without saying that your words have a considerable amount of weight.
This resignation letter is a composed and clear statement, outlining many of the hypocrisies under the Trump administration. This former government employee didn’t hold anything back.
The Department of the Interior was instituted to defend natural resources, federal land, and the conservation of America’s natural and cultural resources. When this man, Joel Clement, resigned as Senior Advisor, he cited his problems with Trump’s administration as his reason for resignation.
“Dear Secretary Zinke,” he writes, “I hereby resign my position as Senior Advisor at the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI).” He continues:
The career men and women of DOI serve because they believe in DOI’s mission to protect our nation’s natural and cultural resources and they believe that service to this country is a responsibility and an honor. I’m proud to have served at DOI alongside such devoted public servants, and I share their dedication to the mission and country, so it is with a heavy heart that I am resigning as a senior official at the Department.
He explains that he has three reasons for his resignation from his position: Poor leadership, waste of taxpayer dollars, and a refusal to acknowledge climate change.
He reveals that he was a “whistleblower” about Trump’s administration’s denial of climate change’s effect on Alaskan Native communities. The former DOI official explained:
”I blew the whistle on the Trump administration because I believe you unlawfully retaliated against me for disclosing the perilous impacts of climate change upon Alaska Native communities and for working to help get them out of harm’s way. The investigations into my whistleblower complaints are ongoing and I hope to prevail.
Retaliating against civil servants for raising health and safety concerns is unlawful,” he points out, “but there are many more items to add to your resume of failure.”
He goes on:
“You and President Trump have waged an all-out assault on the civil service by muzzling scientists and policy experts like myself; you conducted an arbitrary and sloppy review of our treasured National Monuments to score political points; your team has compromised tribal sovereignty by limiting programs meant to serve Indians and Alaska Natives; you are undercutting important work to protect the western sage grouse and its habitat; you eliminated a rule that prevented oil and gas interests from cheating taxpayers on royalty payments; you cancelled the moratorium on a failed coal leasing program that was also shortchanging taxpayers; and you even cancelled a study into the health risks of people living near mountaintop removal coal mines after rescinding a rule that would have protected their health.”
He concludes this by saying that Zinke has “disrespected the career staff of the Department by questioning their loyalty and you have played fast and loose with government regulations to score points with your political base at the expense of American health and safety.”
He finishes, “Secretary Zinke, your agenda profoundly undermines the DOI mission and betrays the American people.”
Waste of Taxpayer Dollars
His next point is that Zinke has wasted taxpayer dollars. He writes that although his background is science, policy, and climate change, Zinke assigned him to the Office of Natural Resources Revenue. He writes, “ My new colleagues were as surprised as I was by the involuntary reassignment to a job title with no duties in an office that specializes in auditing and dispersing fossil fuel royalty income.”
“In the end, however, reassigning and training me as an auditor when I have no background in that field will involve an exorbitant amount of time and effort on the part of my colleagues, incur significant taxpayer expense, and create a situation in which these talented specialists are being led by someone without experience in their field.”
Clement recounted that, despite his best efforts, he decided to step down so that taxpayers could pay the salary someone with a background in the correct field. “Secretary Zinke, you and your fellow high-flying Cabinet officials have demonstrated over and over that you are willing to waste taxpayer dollars, but I’m not,” he wrote.