14 Dec 2008, 11:46pm
Latest Forest News
by admin

U.S. forest chief could have local ties

By Keith Chu, The Bend Bulletin, December 13, 2023 [here]

WASHINGTON — Two U.S. Forest Service officials with Central Oregon connections are being mentioned as candidates to head that agency after President-elect Barack Obama takes office, according to environmental groups and former Forest Service officials.

The Forest Service chief is a civil servant, not a political appointee, but past presidents have chosen chiefs who reflect their policy goals. Because of that, Obama isn’t expected to retain current Chief Gail Kimbell.

Two names that have been floated as replacements are Forest Service Associate Chief Sally Collins, who is currently number two at the agency, and External Affairs Officer Leslie Weldon. Both served as supervisors of the Deschutes National Forest and now work in the agency’s Washington, D.C., headquarters.

But with an abundance of high-profile problems to tackle, it will likely be sometime next year before the next administration chooses a new agency head, according to people in contact with the Obama transition team. After all, Obama has yet to name a secretary of agriculture or the undersecretary of agriculture who oversees the Forest Service, let alone a Forest Service chief. … [more]

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