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Deputy Secretary of Interior David Bernhardt, at far left, listens as President Donald Trump speaks during a cabinet meeting at the White House on June 21. From left are Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Trump and Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

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This week, Coloradan David Bernhardt, the deputy director of the Department of Interior, was making a case for the Trump administration’s changes to the Endangered Species Act in a Washington Post op-ed.

Meanwhile, protesters in Colorado were making plans to protest his boss, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, as he planned to speak at a private event in Steamboat Springs Friday night.

Bernhardt wrote about a “modern vision of conservation” in The Post. He defended the administration’s views on protections for at-risk wildlife, which sometimes can get in the way of business and conservation.

The changes announced last month include, for the first time, factoring in the economic impact of a designation under the 45-year-old law. Threatened species would not automatically receive the same protections as endangered species.

Colo. local officials urge reauthorization of land, water conservation fund

Public lands was expected to be the focus of protests Friday in Steamboat Springs.

Zinke was to address a private event at the conservative Steamboat Institute’s Freedom Caucus.

Protesters are unhappy with the administration’s decision to reduce the size of Utah’s Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments.

Zinke brushed aside those concerns last Sunday.

“The president had me look at 27 monuments. The recommendation I made? There are 150 monuments. The recommendation was to modify four of them ....”

“The revised boundaries were still larger than Zion and Bryce Canyon (national parks) combined,” Zinke said.

Colorado Politics senior political reporter

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