An Interior Department official called the resignation of 10 members of the National Park Service Advisory Board a "hollow and dishonest political stunt" and vowed they would be soon replaced by more dedicated appointees.
You can read Knowles complete letter below (via The Washington Post). Zinke "appears to have no interest in continuing the agenda of science, the effect of climate change, pursuing the protection of the ecosystem".
"The president still hasn't nominated a director for the National Park Service, and Secretary Zinke has proposed tripling entrance fees at our most popular national parks", Cantwell said.
A request for comment has not been returned by the Interior Department.
Two of the Bureau of Land Management's 38 resource advisory councils (RACs) - Rocky Mountain and Southwest Colorado - had to postpone meetings scheduled for Thursday because their charters were out of date.
After suspending the RACs past year, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke created the Made in America Recreation Advisory Committee that will advise on public-private partnerships on all public lands with the goal, according to a statement, of "expanding access and improving infrastructure". It's also signed by eight others on the 12-member board.
Knowles said that the decision to junk the order involved no public process and that it would have made sense to first reach out to the board because of its long work on the policy: "We had strongly supported it, but these things were just done, so these were the disappointments we had". "Secretary Zinke has said that local input is important for BLM to consider, and yet these councils, which provide just such input, have been sidelined".
Others, including the Advisory Committee on Climate Change and Natural Resource Science and another conservation panel, were dissolved, the Washington Post reported.
"I have a profound concern that the mission of stewardship, protection, and advancement of our National Parks has been set aside", the letter said.
The board is required to meet twice a year but has not come together since Trump took office in January 2017.
Even without the resignations, Zinke would have had to select new board members this year as all but one of the 12 members' terms were set to expire in May.
"With all of the issues facing our National Park System, from a more than $11 billion maintenance backlog to budget cuts and staffing issues, this is the very time the Advisory Board should be consulted", she said.
"The appointment of two of the individuals who claim to be resigning had already expired in July and November, and they did not seek reappointment", Swift added in her statement.
Todd Willens, associate deputy secretary of the department, brought up investigations that uncovered sexual harassment at national parks such as the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone and an internal investigative report of a guidebook written by former National Park Service leader Jonathan Jarvis.
"It's typical for this administration to defend itself with half-truths", Faustinos said on Wednesday.