Interior Update: Pelosi offers Grijalva powerful seat on Ways & Means Committee

Update 12/12 : Another Endorsement for Grijalva – Rep. Grace Napolitano backs Grijalva

Update 12/12 : Another strong Endorsement for Grijalva – Raul Grijalva Great Choice of Secretary of Interior – Howard Shanker – Huffington Post :

Once the land is gone or ruined, it cannot be bailed out by throwing money at it. The Secretary of Interior needs to be committed to the effective and comprehensive management of public lands. Grijalva understands this need and stands ready to fill the currently existing void in responsible federal land management.

It looks as though Grijalva’s still in the running for Interior and building support with 7 Arizona tribes endorsing him for Interior in an open letter to the transition team.

Nancy Pelosi looks to be weighing in, dangling a choice Ways and Means Committee seat in front of Grijalva, granting her pick for Interior, Blue Dog Democrat Mike Thompson, an opening should Grijalva take the seat.  That might pull Grijalva away from the Natural Resources Committee and end his Chairmanship of the Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands should he decide to make the switch, a quick wikipedia search :

Members of the Ways and Means Committee cannot serve on any other House Committees, though they can apply for a waiver from their party’s congressional leadership.

I hope that’s one of those wikipedia things…  It’d be a huge loss to our environment, a potential loss prompting Grijalva’s hometown Tucson Citizen to tell Speaker Pelosi to ‘Pound Salt’.  Fortunately, newly elected Arizona state-representative Daniel Patterson suggests he wants to stay fighting for the environment:

“We are not giving up the fight for Interior, and will not take Ways and Means (Committee) as consolation. We’ll stay on Natural Resources (Committee). The fight is still alive,” says a source close to the respected Congressman.

Things are looking up – a huge coalition of people and groups spanning the responsibilities relevant to the Department of Interior (60 prominant conservation biologists & environmental scientists, 130 grassroots groups, a host of native american tribes, the territorial delegation, the Head of the House Natural Resource Committee, etc.) has come out of the wood-work and thrown their shoulder behind a Grijalva appointment – even some of the National Greens are said to be lobbying on his behalf (behind the scenes).  Demarcated Landscape’s got it right – It’s Like having election jitters all over again.



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  1. jdubya Avatar

    It would be interesting to really know Pelosi’s reason for this. Is she THAT pro-Thompson, he is carrying some No-Cal mission she wants to see done, or is she THAT anti-Grijalva, and what is the genesis of that hostility?

    Politicians always have these second and third level agendas that are usually well hidden from the public.

  2. Salle Avatar


    I was wondering the same thing.

  3. Phlogistician Avatar

    This comment at the very bottom is interesting:

    I’m going to repost a comment I made on the other diary about the same thing with this reminder: accepting a committee seat is NOT dispositive to accepting a cabinet appointment.

    Two points:

    Appointment as Sec. of Interior is a very big deal with a huge amount of power, and Grijalva isn’t somehow going to be bought off by a back bench seat on a powerful committee. A cabinet secretary can simply get a lot more done than a regular Member of Congress.

    Case in point: Xavier Becerra, a member of Ways and Means and recently elected to Democratic leadership, left Congress to become US Trade Representative, a less-prestigious position than Sec. of Interior.

    Congressional politics also doesn’t work as represented. Grijalva will have sent a letter to all the members of a Democratic committee who make recommendations about committee appointments. (A sort of “committee on committees” if you will.) The Speaker has substantial influence on this process, but her power is not absolute. It is very unlikely that the committee would assign someone who wasn’t interested to a committee slot that is in very high demand; too many other people will have been fighting for the slot as well.

    Bottom line: Grijalva WANTS the seat on Ways and Means, but accepting it doesn’t impair his chances at Interior. The Tucson Citizen is doing a disservice to it’s community by discouraging it’s Rep. from accepting a seat on an influential committee where he will be able to do a great deal of good.

  4. Robert Hoskins Avatar
    Robert Hoskins

    As I read the press release from the Ways and Means Committee, I get the impression that Grijalva’s move to the WMC is a done deal.


  5. kt Avatar

    Plogistician: Would accepting a seat on Ways and Means mean giving up the other seat? Don’t Congress people serve on multiple committees?

    The current Dem leaders Pelosi and Reid are disgusting. They and their cronies are probably poised to make all kinds of $$$ from public land deal-making – and putting a Bush-lite Nobody like Thompson in charge – either of Interior or the Congressional Committee seems to be a way to ensure all kinds of public lands tearing up deals get through.

  6. Ralph Maughan Avatar


    Not who you queried, but several committees in the House are “exclusive” committees, meaning if you sit on that committee you can’t be on another committee. Ways and Means is one of those.

  7. kt Avatar

    Thank you, Ralph. SO it looks like Pelosi is deftly going to try to “neuter” Grijalva for the next few years if he takes a back seat on Ways and Means and does not get Interior. … Nancy gets that meddlesome fellow out of the way. That elevates Thompson who has no positive record on environmental issues that anyone can come up with … That will all clear the way for the “green” energy wave of development and destruction that Pelosi, Reid and others have planned for public lands. Does anyone want to bet that if this happens they then select None of the Above for Interior? And then Obama goes for a warmed over Clinton admin. type to head Interior?

  8. kt Avatar

    And that would also in effect sort of ‘bust’ the coalition of groups that has built around Grijalva. Grijalva has been the only potential nominee so far that has galvanized the public and the Grass/Sagebrush/Ponderosa pine/Sagauro Roots. And Pelosi and Reid sure wouldn’t like there to be an uppity invigorated Grass roots enviro movement outside the Beltway Big Greens.

  9. Brian Ertz Avatar

    Grijalva has been the only candidate I see that has the leadership potential and the integrity to unify the environmental movement in this country. It has the potential to largely change the dynamic among National & grassroots – but also among the ‘hook & bullet’ crowd and enviros as his setting the agenda at Interior could largely lead/swing/prioritize the public conversation/narrative onto prioritizing habitat conservation on public lands by giving leaders in these groups the indication that efforts toward that aim will bear fruit.

  10. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    Latest rumor I’ve heard is that the choice is Governor Ritter of Colorado.

  11. Buffaloed Avatar

    Nobody has ever heard of Ritter, outside of Colorado. There seems to be an attempt by the Pelosi/Reed crowd to float as many names as they can to divert support away from Grijalva who has the most support. There is some real dirty dealing going on here. Pelosi and Reed have all kinds of friends and family who are heavily invested in “green” energy that need to get permits from Interior to make it happen. Problem is, the projects they want need public lands to happen and this will destroy habitat. It’s all about money and big business. More of the same CRAP that we’ve had since Reagan.

    We need someone who knows about wildlife and habitat not some idiot riding a horse wearing a cowboy hat.

    Check out the picture and the name of the website.

    Who next once they run out of hobby ranchers? Schwarzenegger?


  12. Salle Avatar


  13. kt Avatar

    I sure have not heard of Ritter.

    It looks like he has little to no experience with public lands, really. BUT he may be the man they want to sell out public lands to Anything Goes development by Shell, RES, etc. and to look the other way as Harry Reid’s friends like Harvey Whittemore get their crooked land deals.

    I bet Pelosi et al. are demanding some kind of blood oath of obsequiousness from Interior contenders. They want somebody who doesn’t know much about public lands so they can control him.

    Maybe Pelosi et al. are thinking of a “shadow government” of sorts in Interior? Put a westerners face up there – let Insiders pull the strings.

  14. JimT Avatar

    I am beginning to think Nancy is thinking 2016, and building a base of “owe-me” to call upon. I think it is time for Pelosi to realize she isn’t the Prez, and stop with the nonsense. Obama needs to come up for air from the economy for a few days, and pay attention to the states who put him in the WH…

  15. JimT Avatar

    From someone who lives in Colorado, Ritter is regarded by the environmental community as “tolerable”, but not someone who can be trusted on a handshake. He is in the mode of the collaborative Western politician who give enviros a seat at the table…when the deals have been done in the backroom. Same for Ken Salazar…like choosing between a bad meal and one that will kill you…

  16. kt Avatar

    JimT – That is good to know — “tolerable” is sure not what is needed at Interior right now. People sure did not vote fr more endless back doordealmaking with a half term western Gov like Ritter windowdressing the deal.

    I looked at Ritter’s Wiki page. It said something like he knows how to talk to rural people. You know, George Wuerthner has long had statistics, maps, etc. to show that the West is the most Urbanized part of the country. Nearly all the people in Nevada, for example, live in Vegas and Reno. AND these are the people that voted for Obama. It was not the rural folks -who already receive a grotesquely disproportionate amount of federal subsidies. To have Dems try to pamper and cater to rural communities WHO DID NOT ELECT THEM – makes no sense. It’s just part of the myth that some folks like to promote. The other day, there was a Rocky Barker column about how places in Idaho like Weippe and salmon might beneift from welfare infrastructure under Obama’s stimulus plans. WHY do we want to build another carbon dioxide-generating road to Salmon, or whatever, for its few wolf-hating government-hating ultra Red State inhabitants? When those funds could go to building solar panel projects in and near Blue Boise rooftops/parking lots????

    2009-2112 are going to be very different times (besides the economic gloom and mess). A lot of people who care deeply about public lands are energized, now have the ability to be Citizen Journalists with e-mail, blogs like Ralph’s reaching a critical mass, etc. It’s going to be a lot harder for Pelosi, Reid, do their public land deals without people being able to connect the dots. And a lot harder for the myth of the importance of more welfare for Nowheresville, ID to go unchallenged. There are more people put out of work in one auto plant than live in counties here.

  17. jdubya Avatar

    Ritter? I thought he was an Energy candidate? This is an interesting log jam. Have to hope that there is some “dark horse” that no one has on the radar screen that when Obama nominates them that the “good” people will all smack their heads and say “why didn’t I think of her/him”….

  18. vickif Avatar

    I’m from Colorado, and Ritter is a real popular guy here. That doesn’t make him the most qualified guy though.

    Ritter pushed for the recent law to stop giing oilc ompanies billions in kick backs/tax breaks in Colorado. It failed.

    He opened a number of ethenol pumps….meant well, and actually achieved something, even though ethenol is not so great for the environment, he atleast tried to get something to change.

    He isn’t so horrible. But Grijalva is far better qualified.

    Maybe it is a problem in government to appoint someone who is liked? Then if things get screwed up, it’s harder to point the finger of blame?

    I think all of these Colorado names keep coming up because we are ‘ the safe west’, the version of green that people want to see, maybe because we are the poster child for conservation? Fewer ranchers opposing things here, more Hollywood boasting eco-savvy retreats to the ski areas? I know I don’t think that either Salazar is the angel of green, or Ritter. But as far as politicians go, they are more progressively conservation minded than Thompson, and some other state reps, etc.

  19. Salle Avatar

    What I don’t like is the idea that the public lands of the relatively sparsely populated interior west is on the auction bloc as the sacrificial child for the restructuring of our energy generation methods. Somehow it is starting to sound like a continuum of land-trashing only this time “…it’s okay because it’s for green energy and cleaner air/water…”and back up with the “out of sight out of mind” rationale to make it marketable to the locations with greater population density and vote count

    I think intentions of the legislators in this situation may be a problem and that the Obama team needs to reflect on the difficulties of the task of getting anything done when they run up against “a shovel brigade” ~of any stripe~in this region.

  20. Barb Avatar

    Just thought I’d share something to get comments…… I recently drove through central Nevada on a trip to California. Wow, it is desolate (and beautifully pristine!); saw hardly any cattle at all. We didn’t see one wild animal for hundreds of miles except a bird (although I know they burrow, etc.) It doesn’t look like good wolf habitat at all though, but I know there is a lot of BLM land there. Anyone know if any parts of Nevada are being considered for wolf reintroduction?

  21. Barb Avatar

    Salazar is from a long line of ranching families. Cattle first!

  22. vickif Avatar

    But Salazar us supposed to be a reformed rancher, concerned with greener practices. Watever huh? I do know they (both Salazars) vote more green than a lot of other fellas down here in Colorado. But ranchers they are.

  23. kt Avatar

    VickiF -And every time someone from the “safe” gentriified “Center of/for the American West” kind of crowd gets sent on a mission to the real West, they either come back with their head handed to them on a platter – or Sell Out on a grandscale.

    Well, you know, I was thinking last night – after hearing that Ritter – yet another fellow with limited experience in a breadth of public lands issues – was now under consideration for Interior, that there IS a Dark Horse candidate that maybe the Obama transition team just hasn’t been made aware of. Ralph Maughan. 30 year political science prof who said, in I believe just in the last week on this Blog, that while teaching at ISU in Pocatello, he had to carve out a niche in public lands issues. And he spent those years teaching a lot of kids of rural westerners. He has also traveled about just about everywhere in the West, and kept an on-line record, so to speak, in the Blog, on the Bush Admin. destruction as it unfolded. And sometimes shows amazing patience in dealing with destroyers of nature that show up here.

    Put Ralph in charge at Interior. Get him a couple of kick-ass young lawyers, and go to town to make real changes on public lands in the face of global warming threats.

    Here are my picks:

    Grijalva, Grijalva, Grijalva.
    Ralph Maughan.

  24. Salle Avatar


    Wasn’t that awesome scenery?

    There probably wouldn’t be any cattle out on the range at this time of year, since late October. I’m not sure whether that area would be included in the central or southern Rockies recovery plans or something else entirely-if there is something else…

    There’s no reason why wolves wouldn’t do well in the Great Basin~Range area (most of Nevada). The wild horses do well, there are elk in the hills ~ wolves would, I imagine, have extended range areas to adapt to the presence of available prey, which given the terrain and vegetation available/square mile would be larger for all other mammals. Coyotes live all over the place, elk eat sagebrush…

    Also, there is a lot of vegetated area in the state that is “chained” by the BLM~they literally hook a huge chain with big, flat plates welded on, to a couple dozers or loaders and scrape/rip the pinion forest up in a horrible way. The excuse is that it makes it better for grazing and cattle oriented vegetation because it make the agency money. It desn’t make sense but I think this practice carries on to date. I know it was going on the late 1990’s. Then there are massive mines and military off limits repositories… and the down-winder thing…

  25. kt Avatar


    The wide open viewsheds you drove through are not going to be untrammeled for long if the buddies of both Bush and Harry Reid have their way. There are many new utility corridors proposed to tear apart Nevada, the heart of the Great Basin. Big Energy (both natural gas as well as remote mountain top siting of giant wind farms and solar in the Mojave part of NV) is all moving full steam ahead. This is part of what Salle was referencing earlier. Plus, there are large new pipeline corridors for Las Vegas/Harry Reid’s aquifer mining of the Great Basin – the plan to destroy springs and seeps through ground water pumping near Great Basin national Park, and pipe the water to Las Vegas. This is a gem of a project Reid got through as part of one of his scamming quid pro quo wilderness bills that also privatized blocks of public land. Just last week I read that one of Harry Reid’s good buddies, Harvey Whittemore whose Attorney is Harry’s son Leif Reid, now has the greenlight (state water engineer ok) to mine water from the Geyser Ranch (the public lands welfare cattle ranch that Whittmore bought for the water rights) and pipe it, in a pipeline that of course would have to cross public lands, to Whittemore’s infamous Coyote Springs development.

    Natural gas pipelines are proposed to run through right Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge.

    If you crossed NV east-west on the Freeway (I-80), you really don’t see the massive foreign-owned gold mine destruction (with new cyanide heap leach gold mine proposals nearly every day) that is located all across the central part of the state both north and south of the Freeway. These mines, too, are some of Harry Reid”s best buddies. They are the ones whose gold roasting is spewing mercury across Idaho and Utah. Near Eureka, a massive chinese-owned molybdenum mine that will suck aquifers dry is being planned.

    As for livestock in Nevada – there are only around 500 public lands ranchers in NV – but 40 million aces or more are grazed. Their livestock are destroying the heart of the Great Basin through spreading flammable weeds like cheatgrass, gutting and piping of just about every spring on public lands in his water scarce region much of the state. It gets even more interesting when one starts looking at WHO now, really owns the BLM and Forest Service grazing permits over much of the state.

    #1. Foreign-owned gold or other mines that typically let the most politically connected Big Rancher in an area garze under their permits. #2. SNWA – Southern Nevada Water Authority (Las Vegas). And I am not sure anymore which is really #1.

    Yep. Like Harry Reid’s buddy Harvey Whittemore, in pursuit of water mining schemes, SNWA has acquired grazing permits across millions of acres south of Ely. Mine ownership and speculation in water rights extends right up to the Nevada border – the half million acre Owyhee allotment in the headwaters of the South Fork Owyhee is now owned by a mine entity named Doby George. They let the local Big Rancher graze – to curry favor.

    NOW about those pinyon-juniper forests – some of the largest swaths of true old growth forest left that also help to moderate the climate – there are all manner of “Hazardous Fuels” projects slated to take care of them. A new Bush-era RMP (also laden with all kinds of utility corridor presents for Harry Reid and cronies) for Ely targets 2/3 (at least) of the pinyon-juniper across 12 million acres for removal, through burning, chaining, herbiciding with a chemical called tebuthiuron that persists in soils for 10 years and keeps killing woody veg all the while. Much of the sagebrush is also slated for removal- and replanting with cattle forage – under the claim that it’s understory is “unhealthy”, it has crossed a “threshold”, so the only thing to do is to kill it all (with taxpayer funds of course), start over with new, improved pseudo-native cultivars, and turn the cows back out across the laid-to-waste public lands. This is named Orwellianly the “Great Basin RESTORATION Initiative” – written into the Ely RMP.

    Gotta keep those SNWA (Vegas) cows and domestic sheep happy. I forgot to mention that of the livestock permits SNWA as acquired, there are a substantial number of sheep permits that had belonged to the El Tejon grazing empire. So bighorns across much of Ely landscape are greatly reduced (including the bighorns in Great Basin National Park) due to the domestic sheep grazing spreading disease to wild sheep.

    Anyway …. several books could be written about the scamming, scheming and destruction of public lands and public resources in NV over the past couple of decades.

  26. Salle Avatar


    Thanks for the detailed update. I havn’t had my focus pointed in the direction of NV for a while and wasn’t sure enough to elaborate.

    I have seen the wild horses out on the range near Tonopah, and have been on all the little red roads on the map in largecars. I ws often concerned about the horses and the “open range” where cattle graze openly and if it’s on the road, ’cause there’s no fences, you really had to be careful in the night, livestock is hard to see in the dark. I saw mines all over the west, back in the day. I was always assured that it was “worthless land-BLM land that nobody else wanted” so why not get the minerals that man needed to make “progress” and weapons?

    But that was a LONG time ago. I wasn’t sure about all the new and improved ways they have managed to do away with all that “uselessness” and for how big a deal $$-wise it had become of late.

  27. JimT Avatar

    Ken Salazar is beholden to grazing interests, some oil and gas influence, and he is terrible on mining reform, just awful. Ask the folks in Crested Butte who have been fighting the moly industry for over 30 years to save the iconic mountain Red Lady that overlooks their town. Salazar has been of NO help at all. I am hoping Mark Udall will take up the fight and get that issue resolved once and for all…maybe a negotiated buyout at a realistic price–should be easier in this economy. The other Salazar is a nice guy, but regarded here as a lightweight. For some reason, Pelosi seems to be wanting him to stay in the House instead of going to Agriculture as rumored.

    President Pelosi? She sure seems to be trying to wear the hat these days. She needs to focus on keeping the House focused, and let the executive branch handle its own business in this transition time.

    Ritter is regarded as an energy guy by the enviros here, NOT a public lands or species guy. And I am not sure how much influence he would have as a national player; he got rolled on the Roan Plateau oil and gas leases despite being publicly committed to stopping the wholesale giveaway. Certainly not as bad as some govs in the past, but Ed Abbey, or Hayduke he isn’t.

    Ralph had a heart attack when he saw you nominating him for Interior…~S~

    Whomever they choose, he or she will inherit one of the most dysfunctional and corrupt agencies in the last 100 years, and face a tremendous uphill battle just to undo the regulatory crap that is going on right now. FWIW, talk to folks, send emails to friends who will send emails to other friends–write to the transition team early and often; let them know how the grass root folks feel about the appointment mess with Pelosi and Grijalva; I am tired of the Blue Dogs and all their threats. If they vote like Republicans and talk like Republicans, what’s the difference?

    For mining issues, check out the Earthworks website…learn how bad Reid is on mining law reform because they own him, basically. And as an earlier poster said, don’t fall in love with the wide open spaces too much…Derrickville is coming to a beautiful area near you.
    – – – – – –

    Yeh, I’m gasping for breath, but thanks anyway, KT! Ralph

  28. vickif Avatar

    I Second your nomination for second…

    Grijalva, Grijalva, Grijalva
    Ralph Ralph Ralph

  29. kt Avatar

    Jim T: Just as long as he didn’t “have a cow”!

    Well, why not? Go to and tell them that if Obama really wants someone fit to be Interior Secretary from January 21st (is that the date?) 2009, ready to hit the ground running, there are only two choices … Grijalva and Maughan. Give them a link to this Blog, and say the Articles/Posts should serve as a primer and kind of chronicle of abuses to the natural world of much of the Interior West over the past few years. How much does someone like Ritter, or Thompson who no one had even heard of before, really understand the public lands and the policy and legal system that surrounds them – all of it weakened, perverted, and nearly destroyed by Bush with the aiding and abetting at times of the Blue Dog Dems. And who on the short list really understands and is up to speed on all the diverse and warring factions who care about public lands and wildlife? You can’t fix or improve something if you don’t understand it, and its complexity.

  30. Mike Avatar

    Can’t argue nominating Ralph. I believe he had the first real public land news website, and before that he was educating people on Usenet before web pages, blogs and forums took over. I started paying attention to what he was saying and I began to see the situation involving our public lands more clearly, especially roadless lands and true wilderness areas of the lower 48.

    Not many people have more experience with public lands. Makes sense.

  31. JimT Avatar

    Ralph’s decades of fighting the university days, eh?..being one of the most effective wolf advocates…certainly give him gravitas and weight. But I think it is exactly that kind of knowledge that makes anyone like Ralph a dangerous nomination from the point of the view of the entrenched extractive industries’ point of view; they want as much hat and no cattle as they can get. What I am hoping is that Grijalva, Hayes, possibly Miller gets it, and has enough wisdom to staff with experienced, aggressive, battle-tested, environmental advocates and policy folks who understand how to get things done, and where the landmines are. There are hundreds of grizzled old veterans…VBG..who started with this movement in the 70s and have never left it..those are the folks who should really get the opportunity at Interior.Put someone like John Echohawk in charge of BIA for starters. Someone like Vic Sher (SCLDF, spotted owl wars) at the Solicitor’s office, and let him pick his legal staff…it would be second to none, that I can guarantee. That office needs an experienced litigator, not an academic..apologies to John Leshy. She probably wouldn’t do it, but put Johanna Wald in charge of BLM…Tom Galloway at MMS; Gloria Flora at USFS…Jamie Clark back at USFWS…see how easy it is, transition team? ~S~

    This week will probably be the week, given that the WH seems to be on point about the auto “rescue”…Urpp..excuse me, that one is hard to digest. ~S~ Make those voices heard.

  32. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    It’s very pleasant to hear someone suggest my name for the position and to learn that even one person turned in my name (in jest, perhaps)

    However, I have little inclination to sit in an office running things at any level. My ten years as director of our doctor’s degree in political science eliminated any interest. The meetings, forms, reports are not the way to spend any of a retirement.

    I really think time outdoors stretches the length of your life physically and psychologically. I can remember few of the details of last Friday, but I can remember what I did in order of every day for the 3 weeks I spent in late September in North Central Idaho-NW Montana-British Columbia, mostly in the outdoors.

  33. kt Avatar

    It wasn’t in jest. I also said, too, the Obama folks should call on you as an Advisor no matter who the choose. If they rely on the Inside the Beltway Groups for priorities and actions on public lands, I think they will be greatly surprised at the resistance movement of grassroots groups that exists, and the noise that will be made.

  34. Ralph Maughan Avatar


    Yes it’s absolutely critical they don’t rely on Beltway insiders and generic Western office-holders such as governors for advice on public lands.

    They should also understand that most of the national green group officials do not have a feel for the views of grassroots activists.

  35. vickif Avatar

    Maybe some of the grassroots , or all, need to have a forum, or convention.

    Perhaps they need to circulate a questionaire on the top ten or twenty topics which need to be dealt with? Then, upon entering their choices, there should be a gathering-it could even be an e-conference – (virtually expense free)allowing for the formation of a demand or suggestion sheet, like the one recently submitted by the “corporate greenies”.

    In order to depleat the power of big membership numbers, just give each group one vote. Each group could vote yes or veto certain wording (line veto) once. (Create a house of grassroots representatives, free of charge-no corporate backing needed.) Then once each group had their veto /vote and they had created a finished product , the groups could submit the list and recommendations to Obama’s people.

    Of course any group who disagreed could withdraw their support at any time. But atleast with a cummulative voice they could make a lot more noise. Perhaps it could be called something like “Coalition of Grassroots Voices”. Each group would gain the power of numerical recognition while still representing local interests and individual doctrines.

    Dare to dream I guess, it is just too bad that we can’t unite a lot of these groups into a sort of NATO type of alliance.

  36. JimT Avatar

    I agree that the grass root folks need a large voice at the table when new directions are discussed. But, at the same time, I will say that you have to evaluate these so called DC insiders one person at a time, one set of qualifications at a time before labeling them with the Beltway Group pejorative. For example, Vic Sher could labeled one of those because of his past leadership of Earth Justice aka SCLDF…yet Vic..and Todd True..were absolutely essential in the fight for the spotted owl, and deserve recognition by the grass root folks, not overly broad labeling. Some environmentalists actually go to DC and keep their principles and passion intact…!S!

    And one thing grass root groups should recognize and that is the need to come to the table with as much consensus as possible amongst all of them…sometimes as many as 40 on issues here such as climate change and energy. Otherwise, it becomes about noise and competing egos and budgets and boards of trustees, and nothing gets done. Just like grass root activists hate being dismissed as “small time” by the national folks, the people I know who have been doing this for 40 years plus…and Ralph knows them as well…need to be taken at face value and accepted by the various citizen groups out there until their behavior proves otherwise.

  37. vickif Avatar

    I agree to some extent. Though I don’t know, with all the mistrust these days, that we can get people to take anyone at face value. (Sad state of our world, huh?)

    The noise factor is why I think they need to unify, present one large voice.

    Though I agree many people have fought the good fight long and hard, without being organized or affiliated with something or some group today, one voice is often lost in the choir. That is why, though the people you mention are due the respect they have earned, their input may be largely over looked.

    The greatest tool of accomplishment any of these smaller groups can achieve is organization, which they are doing. Through organization they gather followings that can help propel their agendas forward.

    Perhaps in the plan to create a coalition, their should also be the intentoin of inducting ambassadors or advisors. True, Sher and Maughan, with their insight, experience and knowledge could be very well utilized. What better way to capitalize on what they have achieved than to share their wealth of wisdom as a means to educate and train these groups to succeed?

    Obviously, there are men and women who have already gone the distance and gotten things done. There are those, such as Ralph, who are proven leaders that have the ability to gather and unite people with many different perceptions. These people, with proven track records and knowledge- and face it, likability quotient, should be key players in all of this ‘change’.

    Their opinions and experience should be herralded as the best source advice to take in enacting positive changes.

  38. JimT Avatar

    I think the Colorado Environmental Coalition is an example of how difficult it can be to get scores of groups on one page. It can be done, and I think Elise Jones does a very good job of it, but there always seem to be several groups at any one time who are going “off the reservation”, and time and money has to be expended to bring them back, delaying and sometimes sacrificing real progress. Each citizen group often has a very specific agenda that doesn’t always fit in well with an ecosystem approach on the scale that scientists are now telling us need to be done, especially with drought and climate change. The “my agenda is the most important” is a given with any citizen group dynamic. Not a bad thing per se, but it needs to be addressed in any kind of power and influence sharing strategy like the one you mention above. TRUST…I think you hit on the head…

    If you knew these folks, you would not fear that someone like Johanna or Gloria or Vic wouldn’t be heard…VBG…Trust me,,LOL . I think an amalgam of national players and their perspectives and collections of citizen groups might present the best model. I will admit..I am not a big fan of using a consensus or collaboration model as a philosophy in solving the the increasingly critical problems of the West. I do see these as tools of problem solving, but that is it. I look at this agreement in the southwest recently– a voluntary agreement amongst ranchers and DOI–to essentially agree to some non binding property management practices in return for immunity from the ESA applying to these populations on these lands. Sounds great, reads great …but the species probably got screwed from their well being perspective. I have seen and witnessed too many promises by the ranchers, miners, forestry industry, and oil and gas folks that have been broken to the detriment of the resource time and time again to fully trust them at the bargaining table. Any negotiated agreement MUST include provisions for enforcement, money for that enforcement, and significant penalties for non compliance…legally and scientifically..than cannot be escaped. It has to be the science and the law that are the guiding cornerstones of any group effort, in my opinion, that includes the folks who historically, factually, caused the most problems in the management of the West’s landscape.

  39. jdubya Avatar

    AP has updated their list to now include Hayes. Certainly a beltway kind of guy as a Clinton re-tread. Too bad Clinton did not move more forcefully on land, water and dam/salmon issues: I might be more enthusiastic about giving his old people new jobs.


    David J. Hayes, head of Obama’s transition teams for energy and natural resources agencies and former deputy interior secretary under Clinton.

    Rep. John Salazar, D-Colo.

    Rep. Raul M. Grijalva, D-Ariz.

    Rep. Mike Thompson, D-Calif.

  40. JimT Avatar

    Grijalva, Hayes, Salazar, that order. Don’t hold Bill against everybody..VBG…somebody had to work for him…Bill was certainly no flaming liberal, that is for sure, but right now, he is looking like the second coming of Gaia when compared to the last 8 years. Someday, in my lifetime, I would like to to see an unabashed environmental protectionist as Secretary…

  41. vickif Avatar

    Okay, I could not agree more that enforcement is huge!!!

    You are also correct about the groups that will be off the reservation.

    Ofcourse a good model and principal is only as good as it’s key ideals.

    No one , or many for that matter, will ever pacify the masses. There will always be some one saying “all my demands were not met, so I disagree entirely”. But we have such a deep pool of resourceful thinkers. I say it’d be worth a shot.

    As far as some of those voices….loud though they may be, there is still strength in numbers. I say let them yell!!! Heck, it couldn’t hurt.

    No big suprise on the Hayes front. At this point I think the Obama team has had such a flood of support and countrary in put about all candidates that they are now trying to pick the Sec based on who will placate the most people.

    I hope I am wrong, and the choice is based on picking the person best suited to fix what is broke and save what is left. But if that were true, we’d have a nominee by now.

    I would wonder if Thompson would’ve been a shoe in had it not been for the huge support for Grijalva. I’d also wonder if Grijalva would’ve been a shoe in had it not been for Pelosi and the statements made by Obama to pacify the political clout holding hunters.

    I guess now it is just a waiting game. And all the name dropping may just be a smoke screen to give the appearance of careful consideration to a choice that may have already been made? My, I am seeming a bit pesimistic, all this waiting and finger crossing is draining the hope for change right out of me.

  42. JimT Avatar

    “I hope I am wrong, and the choice is based on picking the person best suited to fix what is broke and save what is left. But if that were true, we’d have a nominee by now”

    I think you are focused on the right issue…qualifications vs. political strategy. Make no mistake..Obama’s folks are already game planning for 2012. Sad, that our system has come to that. For once, I don’t want POLITICS to rule the choice; I want experience, competency, vision, toughness, and principles in no particular order.

    Folks in the “know” in DC are as puzzled as the rest of us about the delay and all the shifting of the names. Unfortunately, I think the whole issue who manages Interior is a subset of the overall energy strategy of Obama..whatever that is…so habitat and species will end up being sacrificed on the altar of energy resources, and whomever can sell that the best..or is perceived as making the best case..will get the job.

  43. brian ertz Avatar

    The more people throw their weight behind a candidate the more factions will be let down when another insider is chosen. Progressives, Hispanics, American Indians, scientists, grassroots conservationists, etc., have all been clear about their choice. I think it’d push grijalva over the finish line for a national group or two to summon the courage and publicly endorse a candidate now too.

  44. JimT Avatar

    From what I “hear” from DC, there are behind the scene conversations from the national groups, and the consensus is Grijalva. I think the ETransition team is asking the groups to hold off on publicly weighing to avoid creating dissension or the appearance of such. I am not sure I would necessarily comply; we have been rolled by so many administrations, Dems and Repubs, that maybe you are right; maybe it is time to just do what your heart and values tell you to do, and damn the spin. That would be my instinct, but then, that is why I don’t work in DC anymore..LOL. I am with Ralph…peace and quiet, balance, hikes in the mountains sounds much better than the Hill.

  45. vickif Avatar

    I am on that same page….serenity for me please. Too bad that withoutt he right logistics and people on The Hill, those hiles may be a thing of the past.

  46. Salle Avatar

    I’m all for the serenity and life close to the door that leads to into the woods.

    It would be a really good idea if the current laws for public land protections were enforced, but it seems that Congress isn’t willing to allow for such things in the annual budgets anymore, haven’t for decades. Seems that those items are the first to get cut every year when the cuts start being called for.

  47. JimT Avatar

    Different White House, Different Congress should equal better budgets…IF Bush hadn’t screwed the economic pooch so badly. Remember those Huge Clinton surpluses he inherited? So, I suspect we will all be frustrated by the slow pace of the reforms given the huge amount of damage that has been done with the regulatory and permit giveaways. Meanwhile, nature doesn’t pay attention to such things, and the decline continues.

  48. Brian Ertz Avatar

    i think that the budget crisis could be an opportunity to demonstrate the fiscal responsibility of conservation at the agencies – if we get a leader that knows this and is capable of leaning in to it.

    we’re always hearing about how districts don’t have the budgets or staff capable of assuring the public proper regard for enforcement. my question is – if you don’t have the dollars and staff enough to monitor and for restoration of public resources, how is it the Department’s have the budget to permit destructive land-uses ?

    It seems to me it’s pretty common-sense. If you don’t have the budget or staff to properly monitor and enforce as the law prescribes – then you don’t have the budget or staff enough to permit the land-use – period.

    we need leaders that understand this – and that are willing to weigh in and hold their own politically to make it so.

    The budget crisis is another thumbs up for Grijalva – who has demonstrated the leadership capable of bringing balance to the budgets and restoring our public landscape concurrently.

  49. kt Avatar

    Now THIS is what we need in a Secretary of the Interior. Someone willing to actually speak up for Environmental Justice, indigenous rights, and the Earth.

    Raul Grijalva takes on the modern day Peabody coal mine atrocities!

    There is only one choice for Secretary of Interior in the wake of the Latter-Day Bush Environmental Apocalypse that is still being unleashed , and EVERYBODY knows it.

    Is there any way we can get slimy, greasy, disgusting Idaho Homeboy Kempthorne locked up for crimes against nature?

  50. John2 Avatar

    There is no way Obama is going to get any of his alternitive energy proposals through with a radical like Grijalva as head of the Interior. A more moderate is needed. John Berry is the way to go.

  51. Luther Weston Avatar
    Luther Weston

    OK folks, the time is now- network with everyone you know with everything you’ve got — it’s down to the wire deciding whether to choose Grijalva or not. Everyone else is a distant second-best at best, but the hour grows nigh.

  52. Mike Avatar

    Looks like the job may be Salazar’s:

    Salazar posied to head Interior:


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Brian Ertz