Casewell Confirmed as BLM director

Jim Caswell gets confirmed as BLM director of 264 million acres of public lands by voice vote Friday as Colorado Senator Ken Salazar folds his hold when promised a letter from Kempthorne. Salazar’s hold on the nomination was to protest against natural gas development in his district.

Caswell’s comments to FWS in support of the Wolf (10j rule) changes:

Update. Story on what led to Casewell’s confirmation — a deal to mitigate oil and gas damage to the Roan Plateau in western Colorado. Salazar wins delay in Roan Plateau plan. By Todd Hartman.  Rocky Mountain News. 

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  1. DV8 Avatar

    Obviously it’s never a good thing to have someone in such a high position in the fray. That said, does the director of the BLM really have any direct say in how the wolf situation is handled? Isn’t this a Fish and Widllife decision? Also, will Caswell be nixxed when their is an administration change…I believe Kathleen Robertson had been in that position for awhile.

  2. Monty Avatar

    Is this the same Jim Caswell who was Forest Supervior of the Siusalw National Forest in Oregon in the early 1990’s? If this is the same Caswell, then, unless he changed his “spots” , the individual I know about was very “green’. Caswell, as forest supervisor, lobbied to stop harvesting of all the Old-growth on the Siuslaw NF. He was a very progressive thinker!

  3. Brian Ertz Avatar

    no, caswell will not have direct control of the wolf situation. Caswell’s testimony was as head of Idaho’s Office of Species Conservation. that’s the irony.

    no, this is not the sme caswell.

    whenever i’ve seen him he seems like a nice guy, which is a different thing than whether i believe he will protect the public environmental interest.

    caswell has a unique way of being there when the mandate of federal environmental law is fiddled with underhanded ways.

  4. Ralph Maughan Avatar


    This question came up before, and I looked it up. They are different Jim Caswells.

  5. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    US Senator Ken Salazar withdrew his hold on Casewell’s nomination not only because Kempthorne promised to come through with the information, but because of legislative action in the US House.

    The Senator’s brother, Representative John Salazar, got a tough provision added to the House energy bill (which Bush says he will veto) which would bar surface occupancy for all oil and gas leases on top of the Roan plateau (a famed wildlife area in Western Colorado).

    Bush has vowed to veto almost all significant legislation currently before Congress, not just the energy bill.

    Most of the bill is not about public lands, but it has a number of public lands provisions including . . .

    A $1,700 cost recovery fee on each application for application for a permit to drill (APD).

    It cancels that part of the current law that uses rental fee money to fund a multi-agency program to speed up approval of APDs in the Rocky Mountains.

    It gives the BLM and Forest Service 45 days instead of 30 days to act on an APD.

    It requires BLM and the Forest Service to do more environmental reviews before granting an APD in wildlife areas. This is a weakening from the committee language with could have barred APDs in such areas without a lot of environmental review.
    It requires the BLM to complete evaluation of oil shale research and development lease projects on public lands before commercial leasing. Oil shale is probably the most damaging and least efficient of all the fossil fuel proposals out there.

    It establishes an oil shale community impact fund financed by bonus bids and other revenue.

    It requires a public review before waiving any best management practice oil and gas lease stipulation, and
    It requires the Minerals Management Service (MMS) to undertake at least 550 audits each year, compared to 144 audits in 2006. Democrats argue the Administration has lost billions of dollars of revenue from oil and gas royalties every year due to sloppy auditing.

    Oregon Senator Ron Wyden is still maintaining a hold on the nominaton of Lyle Laverty
    as the next assistant secretary of Interior for Fish and Wildlife and Parks. Laverty is nominated to replace Julie MacDonald, whose resigned under a cloud after it was revealed she bullied scientists and rewrote their findings about endangered species. Wyden put his hold on Laverty’s nomination because he is demanding the Department of Interior (headed by Kempthorne) prove that political employees didn’t interfere in the regulation of endangered species in the past, and won’t do so again. That should be a permanent hold because DOI did, but, of course, Wyden could settle for less.


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Brian Ertz