Another friend of Salazar to be Undersecretary of Agriculture for Natural Resources and Environment to oversee Forest Service and the NRCS-
White House to Nominate Colorado’s Harris Sherman to Head Forest Service. By Courtney Lowery, New West.
There might be some confusion because the Forest Service got a new Chief Forester about a month ago. It works this way. The Forest Service is directly managed by the Chief of the Forest Service. The Service itself is a classic example, almost the model of a bureaucracy (I am using the word “bureaucracy” in a neutral fashion here). In turn, within the Dept. of Agriculture (not Interior), the Forest Service and the lesser known Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), formerly named the Soil Conservation Service, is overseen by the Undersecretary of Agriculture for Natural Resources and Environment. Harris Sherman will be the new Undersecretary if confirmed. The power of this position relative to the Forest Service Chief has, in my opinion, grown in recent years. Under George W. Bush the Undersecretary was Mark Rey, a good friend of former Idaho Senator Larry Craig. Rey was greated disliked by conservation groups.
This is Obama’s second nomination to this office. His first was Homer Wilkes from Mississippi. Wilkes suddenly withdrew his name after being nominated.
This nomination would seem to really consolidate the power of the current Secretary of Interior over Obama’s public lands policy because the Forest Service is the only major public lands administrator not in the Dept. of Interior. Politics of the early 1900s put the then-newly created Forest Service in the Department of Agriculture which was regarded as more innovative and less corrupt than the Dept. of Interior.