Raul Grijalva

US lands agency makeover would diminish Washington's power

U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke disclosed Friday in an Associated Press interview that he's revamping a sweeping overhaul of his department that's supposed to speed up permitting for development on public lands, but Democrats asserted it was just a ploy to let the energy industry get its way.

The changes follow complaints from a bipartisan group of Western state governors that Zinke did not consult them before unveiling a plan last month to decentralize the Interior Department.

The agency oversees vast public lands, primarily in the U.S. West, ranging from protected national parks and wildlife refuges to areas where coal mining and energy exploration dominate the...