Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said Monday 30 percent of his agency's employees are "not loyal" to him or President Trump and he is developing a plan to overhaul the department.
"I got 30 percent of the crew that's not loyal to the flag," Zinke said in remarks to the National Petroleum Council, a federal advisory panel. He compared his running of the agency to a pirate ship that seizes "a prized ship at sea and only the captain and the first mate row over" to complete the mission.
He then went on to discuss a forthcoming "huge" plan to restructure the agency away from Washington and to the states to speed up oil and natural gas permitting. "I really can't change the culture without changing the structure," Zinke said.
"The president wants it yesterday," he said, referring to the administration's desire to speed up the energy permitting process. "We have to do it by the law."
He also said the Endangered Species Act has been "abused" by environmental groups and bureaucrats alike, which has stalled development.
The designation of animal species granted protections under the law must be less arbitrary, Zinke said. "There is no off-ramp" for species to be taken off the endangered list, once it is determined that a species numbers are adequate and it has recovered, he said.