here. Norman’s comment reminded me of this piece I read about FS and BLM coordination/reorganization, that describes how Senator Wyden is against “senseless reorganization”. Since I personally think it makes a lot of sense (as opposed to senseless), I was curious as to why he cared.. since the last time this was proposed that I remember from Oregon (Interchange, Reagan Administration), it seemed to me like it was Republican ranchers who opposed it at that time. Do any Oregonians have any ideas for why Wyden has these ideas?
Here’s the story from Wildfire Today.
Oregon Senator Ron Wyden was more vocal than most and expressed his displeasure with the proposal. When the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee voted on Rep. Zinke’s confirmation as Secretary of the Interior on January 31, Senator Wyden abstained, citing the movement of the FS as a problem. Rep. Zinke was approved in the committee on a vote of 16-6-1 (yes-no-abstain).
A source we talked with on Capitol Hill who asked to remain anonymous told us that after the committee vote Senator Wyden extracted a pledge from Rep. Zinke that if confirmed as Secretary, he would not pursue reorganizing the FS. With that promise, on March 1 the Senator voted for the confirmation in the full Senate.
Just after that vote, the Senator issued a statement, saying in part:
After several discussions, I received an assurance that as secretary of the Interior, Rep. Zinke will focus on doing his job, which includes protecting our special places and managing the forests already within the Interior Department’s control, instead of engaging in senseless reorganization of bureaucracies.
Our Capitol Hill source said now that Secretary Zinke is on the job, he still can’t completely let go of the desire to move the FS.
In fact, when the Secretary spoke before the Public Lands Council on March 28, he talked about a “joint command” of the FS according to E&E news:
“I may not get the Forest Service, but we’re going to work with the Forest Service and figure out how to not be so stove-piped,” the Interior chief said. Zinke indicated that he and Agriculture secretary nominee Sonny Perdue had discussed a “joint command” model like the ones used by the Pentagon to manage personnel across the military services.
Secretary Zinke may be thinking that this arrangement would not violate his promise to Senator Wyden. However, the Senator expressly mentioned he did not want to see “senseless reorganization of bureaucracies”.