Citing recent increases in timber sales from the national forests, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue told the Forest Service to "identify new opportunities to increase America's energy dominance and reduce reliance on foreign countries for critical minerals." In a memo to the Forest Service chief, Perdue also said livestock grazing should be regarded as an essential part of management of the grasslands that are part of the 193-million-acre National Forest System.
The USDA intends by this fall to put in place a revised land management plan for the greater sage-grouse, once a candidate for protection under the Endangered Species Act.
In the name of greater efficiency, the U.S. Forest Service said on Wednesday that it would modernize its procedures for complying with the National Environmental Policy Act, the bedrock federal environmental protection law.
With congressional leaders calling the shots on forestry language, and with an incendiary Republican proposal for strict SNAP work requirements apparently off the table, negotiators reached a tentative agreement Wednesday on a farm bill that is evolutionary rather than revolutionary.
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, in a press briefing Tuesday on California’s raging forest fires, called for more management of federal forest lands to be shifted to local authorities, arguing that this would help prevent fires.
Forest Service chief Vicki Christiansen, who took office on Thursday after six months as interim chief, said the USDA agency would spend $2.6 billion on fire suppression “for this historic fire season,” roughly the same as in 2017.
After six months as the agency’s interim leader, Vicki Christiansen will take the oath of office today as chief of the U.S. Forest Service, one of the USDA’s largest agencies.
On Tuesday, the leaders of the Senate Agriculture Committee announced that three of President Trump’s nominees have received Senate approval to begin work at the USDA and the CFTC.
Members of the Senate Agriculture Committee are scheduled to vote Tuesday on two Trump administration nominees, Dan Berkovitz to be a CFTC commissioner and James Hubbard to be agriculture undersecretary for natural resources.