Bush top forestry official could be jailed for contempt of court

I am reposting this because there were a lot of technical defects in my original post several days ago.

Judge: Bush Official Faces Contempt of Court. By Jeff Bernard. Washington Post.
“If found in contempt, Agriculture Undersecretary Mark Rey, who oversees the U.S. Forest Service, could go to jail until the Forest Service complies with the court order to do the environmental review.

Rey, a former timber lobbyist, is the boss over the Chief of the Forest Service. He failed to produce a report U.S. District Judge Donald W. Malloy in Missoula had ordered about impacts of dropping ammonium phosphate on streams. This fertilizer is the main ingredient in fire retardants. Many fish have been killed.

A stint in jail for Rey is being requested because the Forest Service is legally immune to fines. There has to be some penalty to make Bush officials obey the courts. They just seem to think laws, orders from judges, orders from Congress, etc. are all optional. There’s the US Government and then there is the Bush Government.

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The Sierra Club had plenty to say about Rey.

August 23, 2007
Firestorm at the Fire Service
By Josh Dorner

The Bush administration seems to have mastered the dark art of making the cure worse than the disease. Take people who were the victims of natural disasters and put them in trailers that will make them sick and even possibly kill them; send people to Ground Zero and the surrounding area without proper protection after 9/11 and then lie about the health consequences (and then later lie to cover up the your first lies); or maybe, you know, take away our civil rights in order to “protect” us.

After championing the Healthy Forests Initiative — whereby we are to make our forests healthier by cutting them down — Agriculture Undersecretary Mark Rey, who oversees the Forest Service, has busied himself with breaking some of our nation’s most fundamental environmental laws — the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Of course this is hardly surprising, given that Rey was a timber industry lobbyist prior to being appointed to oversee our forests. Rey is yet another classic case of Bush appointing a fox-guarding-the-henhouse-style hack. At this point, I’m pretty sure that the bobblehead on my desk is more qualified than most Bush administration appointees.

Rey’s latest shenanigan involves the use of ammonium phosphate — a fertilizer known to kill fish — as the primary ingredient in the flame retardant dropped on wildfires. Indeed, the killing of 20,000 fish by the chemical in 2003 in Oregon prompted the Forest Service Employees for Environmental Ethics to file a lawsuit. Way back in 2005 a federal judge agreed with the group that the government had at least violated the ESA and NEPA by not having a public process to asses the risk. A full 16 months ago, the judge told the Forest Service they had until August 8 of this year to comply with the law. Like so many college professors, he admonished the government not to wait until the last minute to ask for an extension if they weren’t going to meet the deadline.

And like so many lazy college students, the government didn’t do anything and waited until the very last minute — indeed the due date itself — to ask for an extension. The judge called this a “not too funny game.” Of course since Rey himself had personally blocked efforts at compliance and it was looking increasingly likely that he would continue to do so, the judge decided to direct his fire at Rey personally. The judge has ordered that unless the government fully complies by October 15 — highly unlikely — Rey will have to personally go to jail until it does so.

Since the administration seems to have burned through its deck of get-out-of-jail-free cars, it looks no amount of toxic chemicals can protect Rey from this particular firestorm.

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Here is more from the Goat Blog on High Country News. ‘Green’ judge is sick of Bush’s Forest Service and clouds of wildfire retardant killing fish
By Ray Ring.



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  1. kim kaiser Avatar

    “The Bush administration seems to have mastered the dark art of making the cure worse than the disease. Take people who were the victims of natural disasters and put them in trailers that will make them sick and even possibly kill them; send people to Ground Zero and the surrounding area without proper protection after 9/11 and then lie about the health consequences (and then later lie to cover up the your first lies); or maybe, you know, take away our civil rights in order to “protect” us.”

    this is old and tiresome rhetoric their cuz!!! SO, if he hadnt sent in people to the 9-11 site to try and rescue survivors, you would have blamed the administration then too!!!! I am so sure that the clintonites would have done the same thing, had it happened to them, with the same equipment and 8 years to have made the changes, so who would you have blamed then, but thank God it didnt!!

    No one has come up with a better solution to the Katrina victims, so unless YOU are housing a couple dozen rent free at your place, your parents place, or with your kids as well,, its best you get over this one too!!!! or do you have a better use ful and the key work “realistic” solution,,

    and if they want to drop a line on the people in the name of security, ok by me!!! i am not violating the law. Are you? what are you afraid of?? you have no answers, only whining, none of the so called new congress has gotten the power up to do one damn thing for the war, oh, except to pass a few rules that say they have to work more than a day or so a week, now theres a mandate for you and an exercise of power and progress.

    you want to bring a point about timber or pesticides, thats a great thing, it needs to be addressed. But to preface it with the other stuff is, well,,to put it nicely, not required to make your point. Quite frankly, once i saw the first two whining lines, i had no interest in the rest.

  2. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    The important point is that this Administration has no use for the courts or the laws on any matter, management of our outdoors is just the tip of iceberg.

    Talk about other Administrations if you want, but the sins of Andrew Jackson, Warren Harding, Harry Truman, or Bill Clinton are not relevant. They are not in office.

    I am not whining. This Congress should bring impeachment charges, and the election would go better for the Republicans if they were the ones to file them first.

    I was the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit that rejected in total Bush’s new grazing rules. I don’t think that’s whining, it’s called suing their illegal actions and so upholding the law.

  3. kim kaiser Avatar

    Its fine that you can lead suits that prove violations. more power to you, but for the violations that seem to run prevalent to what many consider here as blatant violations of laws, just arent happening, despite personal interpretation. The democratic leadership simply doenst have the cahoonies, the law, or more simply THE POWER, to pursue impeachement. All that has been promised by them has yet to bear fruit,,no troop withdrawals,(just, as even CNN says, symbolic measures) nothing, except a couple of minor ethics revisions that never hold water, and requiring a longer work week. Outside of that, same S—t, different day. Victories for you, and your group are great for this area and I commend you for your efforts. I sign and send the ecards sent by the wwf and sierra and whoever needs it. I read your site, and enjoy the site and its content. But I quit reading a post, if it prefaced as the original poster started his article with three paragraphs of old news! lets see, another poster, WOLFY had almost the same complaint(neither had an answer for there disapointments by the way) on the other fire article. News that is old and tiring, and has nothing to do with forest work, trees, BLM, fires, wolves bears, etc. There wont be any charges filed against the admin on ANY of that stuff, (Kartrina, 9-11, eavesdropping) so what is the point except to whine and stir the pot,,,We can all already agree the admin is not environmentallly friendly, but is all that extra stuff required,,,If he had made his point in the first paragraph, i would have read the whole thing. OR if he had just reported it as an event, i can make my own conclusion, but to try and be swayed by all that other stuff turns me off to the point of the articles. Just like Limbaugh, i dont listen to him either, to much pushing and shoving, Unbending vision on either side will not change it, compromises are gonna hve to be made, like it or not,,,

  4. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    Kim, groups make deals (compromise) when the time is right — when both sides believe that they can profit from it.

    This Administration is in no mood for that — they will do all they can to aide the oil companies, etc. in the time they have remaining.

    This Administration is unique in that its chief strategist, Karl Rove, believed they could rule with a thin majority alone. All other Administrations have compromised or ruled only when they had a clear majority.

    The result of this strategy is unprecedented polarization in the country over many things, including wildlife policy.

  5. Wolfy Avatar

    Well, it looks like its time to talk brass tacks; no whining, vague comments, or grand standing. The reality is that the fellow near the top of the food chain in my organization is in contempt of court for not following a court order. This situation puts incredible pressure on the day-to-day work of the worker bees, like me, at the bottom of the food chain. Every action that we take in the public’s eye is held in comparison to the actions of the folks in Washington.

    Brass tacks: Gail Kimball, the a new head of the Forest Service, was on ethics and affirmative action charges in her old as forest supervisor on the Bighorn National Forest (WY). While still under investigation, she was awarded the position in Washington, D.C. as Associate Deputy Chief, Programs, Legislation and Communications. She had successfully purged all but two whistleblowers from the Bighorn NF. Thirty people under direct supervision lost their jobs for calling attention to the misdeeds of the former forest supervisor. She was sent in to the Bighorn as a hired gun to clean up the mess. That may be old and tired news for some folks, but it puts into context the recent activities of the Forest Service’s Washington office.

    Brass Tacks: She now holds the position of Chief of the Forest Service and is supervised by Mark Rey (the topic of this thread). The former chief of the Forest Service had grumbled to his boss, Mark Rey, a few too many times about adequate funding for fire ops, the agencies lack of adherence to the roadless rules, competitive sourcing (outsourcing) gov’t. jobs, and that the agency was attempting to sidestep the public involvement the NEPA process. He retired (got canned) and was replaced by someone who would take orders without “whining”. Kimball, the new chief, is now planning tactical maneuvers to accomplish all the things that the old chief (and many others) “whined” about. This seems to be the legacy of the Forest Service; Roosevelt fired Pinchot (our first chief) for not wanting to harvest the forest reserves.

    Brass tacks: I care about my agency; I worry about the direction we are going. Most Forest Service folks want to do a good job and want to feel good about what they do. We are educated, trained, and ethical employees despite the reflections of the Washington office on this agency. My solutions are so radically simple: fire the unethical jerks and rule breakers; promote good people. Fund the service’s missions; follow the rules and court judgments. Give the taxpayers what they pay for.


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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Ralph Maughan