A veterans foundation is speaking out in response to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s verbal lashing of a woman who asked the former Navy SEAL why he would not acknowledge the role of climate change in recent wildfires.
“You haven’t served, and you don’t know what energy is,” Zinke snapped at the woman, who was one of more than 1,400 protestors gathered in opposition to Zinke’s policies at an event in Steamboat Springs, CO, on Friday.
Garett Reppenhagen, a former Army scout sniper and the Western States Director for the Vet Voice Foundation, responded:
“Secretary Zinke’s insinuation that military service is a prerequisite for having a voice is insulting. We didn’t serve so that we could have the loudest voices, we served so that everyone’s voices could be heard. Further, his notion that only veterans can understand issues surrounding energy only serves to shut out some of the most brilliant scientists we have, who are working on issues from climate change, to land conservation issues. Secretary Zinke’s hostility and arrogance, unfortunately, is not limited to this one incident. Despite testimony from countless experts, he has done nothing to stop programs like the Land and Water Conservation Fund from from expiring at the end of September, and has even proposed budgets that have called for enormous cuts to the fund. His attitude and actions don’t serve anyone well – veterans and non-veterans, alike.”