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US Forest Service Chief To Retire, Leaving Contentious Record January 12, 2007

Posted by notapundit in US News.

WASHINGTON (AP)–The head of the U.S. Forest Service is retiring after almost six years in a job where he helped the Bush administration increase timber sales from national forests, allow more oil and gas drilling on government land and discontinue some recreation fees.

Dale Bosworth, a career forester who became the agency’s 15th chief in April 2001, will step down within a few weeks, Forest Service spokesman Jim Brownlee said Friday. His replacement was being named Friday.

Bosworth joined the agency as a forester in 1966 and climbed the ranks through a series of jobs in the Western states Washington, Utah and Montana.

As chief, he was a key player in President George W. Bush’s program to increase timber sales and auction off oil and gas leases in roadless areas of national forests. The administration of Bush’s predecessor, President Bill Clinton, had put such land off-limits to commercial development for environmental reasons.

Among the most controversial decisions on Bosworth’s watch has been the promotion of logging in Alaska’s Tongass National Forest, the nation’s largest. Some of the areas the Clinton administration had tried to protect have trails and roads, but many are considered pristine havens for wildlife and waterways or are prized for their scenery and recreation.

“It’s my belief that most users want to do the right thing,” Bosworth said in 2005 about his agency’s plans to encourage off-road enthusiasts to use the forests in an environmentally friendly way.

In October, a government study blamed the administration, not lawsuits by environmentalists, for adding to the costs of logging to salvage timber from an Oregon wildfire. The administration and Republican allies had contended that lawsuits filed by environmentalists led to the increased costs.


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