Based on her Hill appearances this week, it won’t be long until “interim” is removed from Forest Service Chief Christiansen’s title. In yesterday’s testimony before the House Committee on Natural Resources she struck an impressive balance of deference and confidence in responding to members’ questions. Republicans pushed her to “treat” more “at-risk” acres, but haven’t been willing to pay the extra cost to remove more worthless small trees and flammable brush. Chairman McClintock pined for the good old days of the 1970s when the Forest Service cut 10 billion board feet a year, creating much of today’s forest health problems by logging fire resistant old-growth. Christiansen stuck to her script — the FS is doing more fuels-related work and focused on improving planning processes that are within its control.
nb: She also pointed out that recreation is an important source of national forests jobs.