Next on Obama’s Dance Card, Mother Nature

Here is the latest speculation on USFA, DOE, DOI, and EPA. By Al Kamen. Washington Post.

Thompson does have a 92% rating by the League of Conservation Voters.

I found this on Thompson. It is from his campaign, so what he thinks would help him get reelected. Mike Thompson on Environment.

About The Author

Ralph Maughan

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.

17 Responses to Next on Obama's Dance Card, Mother Nature

  1. Interesting to note that the Washington Post notes that Grijalva’s bid has stalled.

    That would be too bad from the perspective of this region. Grijalva is clearly familiar with the issues related to Greater Yellowstone; it’s rare even to find too many in Congress, who have even taken time to speak out about the bison issue, for instance.

    On the other hand, perhaps it’s for the best. I doubt that huge amounts of good on policy will come out of the Administration; perhaps, the good of not having someone that we might have high hopes for is that we put our energy and focus in our activism on the long range strategies that will be far more successful – namely building stronger community grassworks networks. If we engage in yet another letter-writing and lobbying campaign to influence policy makers, we may do so at the expense of meeting and organizing in our communities.

    Tomorrow, we’re having a bison education event in Bozeman, and it has crossed my mind repeatedly – what if no one shows up? I talked to a fellow member of our group here, and though we have done everything to be successful, we have to take some solace that the long term goal requires us to be active and not be too discouraged by short term failures in grassroots organizing because such regular activity will itself prove effective over time in building a movement organically – whereas a huge amount of energy toward a power that be in Washington or Helena (or Cheyenne or Boise as the case may be) not only usually fails or is only marginally successful but tends to fizzle out.

    I still hope Grijalva is chosen – it would perhaps allow us to be lucky in some ways – but no matter what, our movement will be sustained or lost by building stronger community movements. We’ve seen how a community organizer managed to mobilize his way into a movement that swept him into the White House; imagine what we could do if we mobilized that in a way toward those issues we most care about.

  2. Salle says:

    Yes, it would be unfortunate to leave him out.

    And just to be fair about his record:

    He got 100% ratings.

  3. Well, Grijalva can have lot of influence as subcommittee chair, such as pushing legislation. Congress will be a lot different now and legislation passed will not face an automatic veto.

  4. JimT says:

    Obama showed his lack of knowledge of the important issues in the West when he said that being a hunter or a fisherman is a key qualification to manage Interior. There are too many qualified candidates for this post that don’t personally hunt or fish, and fully understand the specialness of the living and non-living resources in our part of the country. For too long the Interior post has been given to the “usual suspects” and look where we are in terms of the myriad crises our water and land face. It is time for a real change at Interior; time to break the old assumptions and go in a new direction. I am hoping someone on Obama’s transition team will see the light and prevail.

  5. It’s a good indication that Obama doesn’t understand the West.

    For the first time in a long while a Democrat did fairly well in the interior west. However, unless Obama or someone with great influence with helps him understand that the interior West, especially the rural interior West basically has a feudal (pre-modern) social structure, and that this needs to be dismantled; Democratic Party victories will probably disappear by 2010. This assumes his other policies turn out to be less than overwhelmingly popular nationwide.

    The whacko factor is incredibly high in Utah, followed by Idaho, Montana and Wyoming.

  6. buffalorunner says:

    We need to find a qualified Native American for this position…Wow! Can you all imagine?? I can dream though…

  7. TC says:

    I agree that cabinet positions in energy and interior should be filled by intellectual folks with a good basis in science and with a solid grasp of the issues, but I politely disagree that their common sense outdoor savvy and love for wild places is not important, and I think choosing folks that DO hunt or fish or spend considerable time “out there” is VERY important. Folks that spend time outdoors pursuing whatever their heart desires (and I don’t mean spending a week in a million $ cabin in Jackson or Ketchum or Missoula) are much more likely to be invested in protecting and conserving resources including land, water, and wildlife, because they CARE, not because it’s intellectually right or morally responsible.

  8. Salle says:

    Ya know, I would like to see a Native American in each of those depts. even if not the top post, the in the very next tier!!! I know several knowledgea ble and educated Native Americans who could easily fill many Ag and Int. positions at high grades and be very helpful in healing our lives.

    The core values of their cultures are so different from the business model the mainstream society hangs onto as its core value set. Differences like the respect they have for the natural world and our insistence that we can, with our technology, control it all someday no matter what we destroy to do it.

    Big difference.

    When we left our respect for nature behind is probably when we went careening off the path of our true destiny as a specie and our true role in the biosphere.

  9. Brian Ertz says:

    buffalorunner & salle – nine tribes endorsed Grijalva, he’s been a big proponent, including oversight at Interior.

    all of the candidates for interior have spent considerable time outdoors – the question is whether they understand the workings of the vast $15.8 billion bureaucracy enough to have an idea about where the change needs to take place within the Department – does Thompson know, have any experience, or have an idea how to do that ? is Grijalva aware of the problems at Interior, why they are problems and how to re-organize and prioritize to protect the things we care about ?

    who’s going to make it is total speculation. One Washington Post columnist, Al Kamen, alludes to Grijalva’s “stall” (whether he’s stalling with the Transition Team or whether that reporter is doing little more than reading this blog is completely unclear) – another, Stephen Power – A Wall Street Journal reporting on the transition says a couple days ago :

    The leading candidate, according to two people familiar with the transition team’s deliberations, is Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva,

    we have no idea.

    the DOI is too large a bureaucracy driven by too much institutional inertia to make this decision based on a Field & Stream Magazine quote. Several conservation groups and 58 conservation scientists wrote a letter to the transition team backing Grijalva because he knows how to get the job done and i seriously doubt they were talking about how to field-dress a deer – but it’s easier for the papers to make that claim because it’s something relativity tangible.

  10. Salle says:

    I agree with you, Brian. And several others on this thread. I posted the link his info/background above in an earlier post.

    And, once again…

    Grijalva, por favor!

  11. JB says:

    From the caption: “Rep. Mike Thompson might be the next interior secretary. As this shot clearly proves, he’s an outdoorsman.”

    So all it takes to “prove” your an outdoorsman is a shot with a big fish? Someone should’ve told John Kerry to go fishing instead of hunting. 😉

  12. Brian Ertz says:

    Nick Rahall, chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, and the Outdoor Industry Association have endorsed Grijalva

  13. mikeB says:

    We really need Kitzhaber, and Rahall, in some top positions, for certain.

    As a long time Oregonian, I know what a valuable asset Kitzhaber will be.

  14. Virginia says:

    The website listed above “On the Issues” labels Grijalva a “hard-core liberal” and based on his voting record, I support him 100% which makes me a “hard-core liberal” and proud of it. NARAL gives him a high rating, as well as LCV and many other consumer advocacy groups. He is “my man” for DOI. The website “” declares that Obama’s transition team is reading all of the posts they are receiving, so hopefully everyone will take the time to send their opinions regarding the important positions of Interior, Energy and Agriculture.

  15. JimT says:

    One could certainly put John Echohawk from NARF out there as a legit candidate for some senior post in Interior if not the Secretary’s position to bring some badly needed Native American perspective to the managment of the West. No other racial group has suffered as much in terms of the history of the West’s development, and destruction. Whether he would want to work at Interior is a different matter; Boulder is a great place to be.

    My wife and I were musing over dinner with friends why anyone half way sane would want to be Secretary right now. Interior has become a total cesspool in the past 8 years, and has bent over backwards in its efforts to give the extractive industry maximum power to exploit without any requirement for environmental protection or restoration. Whomever it is, the ability to inspire the tens of thousands of dispirited employees will be as important as their knowledge of the West and current problems in the physical world. Perhaps that is why Obama seems to be leaning in the more traditional resume fodder, more of a manager type than a scientist or biologist.I think it would be mistake. There are plenty of good folks at Interior who would love to be able to do their jobs properly; they need someone to get out of their way while providing guidance and a strong hand in determining the path forward. Is there someone out there who is a mix of Obama, Ed Abbey and Wallace Stegner. ? ~S~

  16. vickif says:

    too bad we can’t photo shop a trout in the hands of grijalva and circulate

  17. Ron Kearns says:


    107 Groups Say AZ Congressman Is Right Person to Reform Troubled Agency

    I encourage anyone who supports Congressman Grijalva to send an e-mail to the President-elect Obama’s Transition Team.

    There are links to the PEER website for the letter and a full list of the group signatories.

    Thank you,
    Ron Kearns
    Retired Wildlife Biologist, USFWS


December 2008


‎"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