Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke. Photo: U.S. Department of the Interior
National | Politics

Interior Department wants grants to align with Secretary Zinke's 'priorities'

Grants awarded by the Department of the Interior must comply with the "priorities" of Secretary Ryan Zinke, according to documents obtained by The Washington Post.

The 10 priorities include ensuring that "sovereignty means something," one document states. Anyone who attempts to circumvent the priorities "will cause greater scrutiny and will result in slowing down the approval process for all awards," officials were told in a December 28, 2017, memo.

“Subjugating Congress’ priorities to 10 of the Secretary’s own priorities is arrogant, impractical and, in some cases, likely illegal,” David Hayes, a former deputy secretary at Interior during the Obama era, told The Post.

According to the memo, the guidance applies to "discretionary grants" and "cooperative agreements." It notes that self-determination contracts to tribal governments are considered "non-discretionary" so they would not be subject to Zinke's priority list.

That still leaves other grant programs, such as those under the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, subject to the guidelines. Grants to an "institution of higher learning," a definition that would appear to include tribal colleges, are also subject to the new requirements.

Read More on the Story:
Interior puts grants to nonprofits, universities through political-appointee review (The Washington Post January 9, 2017)