Thanks to Rebecca Watson for this one..
“Christiansen appears safe in the position, former Forest Service officials and policy insiders say, if the Biden team determines she can deliver on the incoming administration’s increased commitment to climate action and decreased emphasis on timber harvesting.”
Just for the record, if you use Headwaters’ handy interactive map and graphs of timber volumes.. they look remarkably invariant to Administrations. I’d think that was because Congress gives the FS bucks to do it. Plus there’s the desire of many states (including the politically influential California) to increase funding for fuel treatments and increase the ability for the wood to be used (and paid for). And, of course, Bonnie and others know all that. So I’d guess that “decreasing emphasis on timber harvesting” might be more nuanced than reported here.
Other Forest Service officials Bonnie served with include Deputy Chief Chris French; Associate Deputy Chief Christine Dawe, who ran timber programs during the Obama administration; and Glenn Casamassa, who helped write the agency’s planning rule in 2012 and is now regional forester in Region 6, covering the Pacific Northwest. The undersecretary for natural resources and environment, Jim Hubbard, was deputy chief for state and private forestry under Bonnie, but as a political appointee now, Hubbard wouldn’t be expected to remain.
Bonnie “can’t help but notice a strong continuity in staffing on the team,” said a forest industry source with relationships inside the agency.
The Forest Service chief works most closely with the undersecretary for natural resources and environment. It’s a critical relationship and a delicate one to keep untarnished by politics, said Dale Bosworth, former chief from 2001 to 2007. During his term, he said, the relationship amounted to, “I don’t screw with politics, and you don’t screw with policy.”
Sometimes the line blurs, Furnish said. Prior to the Clinton administration, the agency took pride in its leaders’ surviving the turnover of administrations, he said. But in 1993, the Clinton administration fired agency Chief F. Dale Robertson and brought on Jack Ward Thomas, a wildlife biologist who had written on protecting the northern spotted owl and wasn’t a career government employee.
The appointment was a “bloody coup,” said Furnish, who retired in 2016 after a 34-year career with the Forest Service.
Former officials and lobbyists who worked with the Forest Service recall Thomas’ tenure as a lesson in what happens when politics creep into decisions on Forest Service leadership. In 1994, Republicans gained control of the House, and Thomas — who had kept on top Forest Service managers from the prior administration — became torn between newly influential timber interests and environmental groups, both of which turned against him.
No, Thomas was absolutely a career government employee. He worked as a research scientist and had not been to SES training nor certified, but had a lengthy and impressive career IN THE FOREST SERVICE. I’m a former WO drone who got to see Thomas operate during this period. My interpretation would be that he had legitimate policy disagreements with the Undersecretary and his allies, probably based on his real world experience. I can’t see him as being “torn,” I can see him picking the position in each case he thought to be correct. But that’s just me.. who else was there at the time?
Also Jim retired in 2002, I thought. Maybe he can chime in here.
I found this a little creepy..
Agency officials who embraced the Trump administration’s change and helped craft it may find themselves out of step with the incoming USDA leadership. That might include the regional forester for Region 10 in Alaska, Dave Schmid, Stahl said in a post on the forestpolicypub.com blog and in his email to E&E News.
While I appreciate the nod to TSW (albeit not by name, sigh) I’d have to disagree with Andy. I don’t know how you measure “embracing” , but those who “helped craft it”.. really? So those who applied for a detail.. or maybe those requested by name, who said yes. I feel that feds should be free to carry out orders from any color of politicals without being monitored by the Enthusiasm Police for potential future punishment.
It would have been nice, perhaps, to have interviewed someone from NAFSR.