Restoring the size and the tribal role in managing the Bears Ears National Monument in Utah, is one issue, Pinkham said. Restoring the teeth of bedrock environmental laws like the National Environmental Policy Act, the Endangered Species Act and the Clean Water Act are another tribal priority, he said.
“I feel optimistic with this new administration is taking a looking that the environmental regulations that have been whittled away over the last four years,” Pinkham said.
Northwest tribes also hope Snake River salmon are on Biden’s agenda. The region’s four governors announced a collaborative process to seek a solution to the salmon and dam issue in the region. Rick Johnson, former executive director of the Idaho Conservation League, said the time is right for a regional solution.
“The Pacific Northwest is at the apex of its power right now,” Johnson said. “That won’t last forever. This is the time to think bigger,” he said.
Who will be Interior chief?
Three Democrats from New Mexico are considered the most likely to be chosen by Biden to serve as U.S. Department of the Interior secretary. The Interior secretary is the nation’s top wildlife manager and landlord, overseeing more than 500 million acres of national parks, federal rangeland and wildlife refuges. That includes more than 16 million acres in Idaho, from the Owyhee Canyonlands to Yellowstone National Park.