Another friend of Salazar to be Undersecretary of Agriculture for Natural Resources and Environment to oversee Forest Service and the NRCS-

White House to Nominate Colorado’s Harris Sherman to Head Forest Service. By Courtney Lowery, New West.

There might be some confusion because the Forest Service got a new Chief Forester about a month ago. It works this way. The Forest Service is directly managed by the Chief of the Forest Service. The Service itself is a classic example, almost the model of a bureaucracy (I am using the word “bureaucracy” in a neutral fashion here).  In turn, within the Dept. of Agriculture (not Interior), the Forest Service and the lesser known Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), formerly named the Soil Conservation Service, is overseen by the Undersecretary of Agriculture for Natural Resources and Environment. Harris Sherman will be the new Undersecretary if confirmed. The power of this position relative to the Forest Service Chief has, in my opinion, grown in recent years. Under George W. Bush the Undersecretary was Mark Rey, a good friend of former Idaho Senator Larry Craig. Rey was greated disliked by conservation groups.

This is Obama’s second nomination to this office. His first was Homer Wilkes from Mississippi. Wilkes suddenly withdrew his name after being nominated.

This nomination would seem to really consolidate the power of the current Secretary of Interior over Obama’s public lands policy because the Forest Service is the only major public lands administrator not in the Dept. of Interior. Politics of the early 1900s put the then-newly created Forest Service in the Department of Agriculture which was regarded as more innovative and less corrupt than the Dept. of Interior.

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About The Author

Ralph Maughan

Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University with specialties in natural resource politics, public opinion, interest groups, political parties, voting and elections. Aside from academic publications, he is author or co-author of three hiking/backpacking guides, and he is President of the Western Watersheds Project.

6 Responses to White House to Nominate Colorado’s Harris Sherman to Head Forest Service

  1. avatar Richard Giallanzo says:

    So Obama is for big bussiness when it comes to the environment he is getting away from his base who put him their for change not for the same old big bussiness garbage. Well he is losing people on his side this I know is true.

  2. I don’t think Obama knows much about these issues and is willing to trade them off for votes on health care reform.

    He doesn’t seem to appreciate how important it is to keep your base enthusiastic and active. Then you reach out to the independents.

    Bipartisanship can only work when there is sentiment to cooperate in both parties. IMO he squandered and continues to squander his political capital.

  3. avatar JimT says:

    Ralph, you couldn’t be more on the mark. The low grumbling in the “green and liberal” circles that delivered Colorado to Obama and Udall is widespread and growing on these issues. Seems to be some sort of genetic time trigger with Dems who are elected in the West…they lose their spine, and run to the middle, and have memory lapses about why they got elected and by whom in the first place.

    Obama should be getting his agenda done, and forget about the Repubs, who were never going along anyway. If healthcare fails, then we may see a repeat of 94 in the midterm election cycle even if the Republicans are basically clueless, directionless, and whose only tactic is spread fear and lies whenever and wherever they can.

  4. avatar Richard Giallanzo says:

    I agree with everything that’s been said so far. Obama is losing his base, his environmental base for sure, hunting,clean coal not such a thing. So I hope earth justice,defenders of wildlife,nrdc can keep up the pressure and stop this hint soon. I knew this day would be coming in a few years to appease the hunters.

  5. avatar davej says:

    I think some of you might be surprised by Harris Sherman. Most of the people who have been trashing him in the media don’t really know that much about politics behind Colorado’s roadless rule. He’s not going to working under Salazar — he MIGHT do a pretty good job.
    He’s definitely not anti-carnivore and he understands the importance of wildlands, so in my mind the key issue is how well he withstands the folks in Wash DC.

  6. avatar JimT says:

    He has been terrible on the roadless rule discussions…ask the Denver reps of Wilderness, CEC, WRA ,etc. Ritter’s plan should be dumped and he should wait until the litigation plays out; it gives away too much. What I strongly object to is this now apparent trend to get in the cheerleaders in Interior and Ag instead of folks who might actually tell Salazar something he wouldn’t like to hear but is the truth. The only appointment so far that I think will speak truth to power no matter what is Larry Echohawk at BIA…and we all know what challenges he faces there

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‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey

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