President Donald Trump signed an executive order Thursday to reorganize the federal government, a welcome move for Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke as he attempts to restructure the Department of the Interior (DOI).
Trump's order directs the Office of Management and Budget to suggest ways to consolidate the federal government, streamlining agencies and repositioning some under departments more closely aligned with each agency's responsibilities, according to a White House statement.
“President Trump is a businessman who knows that an effective operation needs to be organized for success, which is exactly why he is leading this commonsense reorganization of the executive branch,” Zinke said in a statement commending Trump’s move. “By merging agencies that handle similar, if not the same, functions we would be able to greatly improve services to the American people and better protect the land and wildlife under our care.”
Zinke is currently making plans to reorganize his own department, but those plans have been complicated by agencies that he has no control over. For example, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) regulates many areas in tandem with the DOI agencies in rivers and lakes, but falls under the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The U.S. Forest Service (USFS), under the Department of Agriculture, governs millions of acres that cross over DOI-managed lands or habitats.
Zinke’s plans involve a massive reorganization that sets DOI agencies in charge of areas of the U.S. rather than breaking down responsibilities by habitat or animal. He can only go so far streamlining responsibilities, however, without help from the White House. Trump’s reorganization of the executive branch could fix many of those issues.
“At Interior, we are leading the government reform and modernization by consolidating dozens of regional bureau boundaries into twelve common unified boundaries — down from 61 for the nine bureaus — and pushing more assets and decision-making out into the field,” Zinke said.
Some of the moves suggested involving both the NMFS and USFS, as well as the Army Corps of Engineers, which falls under the direction of the Department of Defense.
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