Do we need the US Forest Service?

We have two major federal agencies that manage federal land, the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) under the Agriculture Department and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) under the Interior Department.  Why do we need both agencies?  As far as I can tell the BLM does everything USFS does and more.  It seems that one of these agencies is redundant.

The USFS manages 193 million acres of federal land using over 30,000 employees and a budget (FY 2011) of $5.38 billion.  That works out to $27.87 per acre managed, $179,333 per employee, and  6,433 acres per employee.

The BLM manages 245 million surface acres, as well as 700 million acres of subsurface mineral estate, with about 10,000 employees, and a budget (FY 2011) of $1.1 billion.  That works out to $4,49 per acre or counting mineral estate, $1.16 per acre managed, $110,000 per employee, and 24,500 acres per employee or counting mineral estate 94,500 acres per employee.

Maybe looking at just these numbers is not a fair comparison, but it is suggestive that we are getting more for our tax dollars with the BLM.

Both agencies manage theoretically for multiple use, including mining, logging, grazing and recreation. Both agencies manage forests and sell timber.  USFS timber production has dramatically decreased since a peak in the 1980s due in part to the environmental quagmire of law suits and regulations. (See table and graph here.)  I can’t find similar figures for the BLM.

The BLM manages the subsurface mineral rights under National Forests.  Mining claims located on a National Forest must be registered with the BLM not the USFS.  Exploration and mining are subject to 36 CFR 228(A) for USFS land or to 43 CFR 3809 for BLM land.  Why two separate sets of regulations for the same activity?

The Department of the Interior includes the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Bureau of Reclamation, Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, National Park Service, Office of Surface Mining, Reclamation and Enforcement, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the U.S. Geological Survey.  It would seem to be the logical agency to manage the National Forests.

I propose that the USFS be eliminated and its duties merged into the BLM in the Interior Department.  That may result in more efficient management of our National Forests and elimination of a redundant bureaucracy.

Reorganization is justifiable solely on grounds of efficiency and economics, but there are other considerations.  While the BLM has its faults (due mainly to the current Secretary of the Interior), it is generally easier to work with and approaches things on a more pragmatic and scientific basis.  USFS seems to be guided by eco-extremist doctrine and anti-public attitude.

Even better would be for the feds to turn all national forests over to the states and let them manage the forests according to the local needs and philosophy.

 

 

39 comments

  1. Indeed! When these agencies come about they never go away regardless of their usefulness or necessity. To justify their existence they become more controlling and even tyrannical. 

    1. Not a new idea, and one that has some merit. I’ve advocated a merging of the two under the Dept. of Interior as the “Natural Resource Agency” or some such moniker. The Forest Service is by far the older of the two agencies and has a rich history–therefore my bias–but times being what they are…

      A few points that the author didn’t address: The Forest Service receives exponentially more public visitors than the BLM, generally occupies the wildland/urban interface (hence more and bigger fires and more $$ in the budget–fire gets the lion’s share), and is subject to much more intense public scrutiny and litigation by both environmentalists as well as industry groups. Operating in a more complex reality requires resources–both people and money. The Forest Servive isn’t a tree hugger organization, but it is a public agency and therefore must respond to and respect public desires. Most of the forest using public doesn’t want to see their forests being used for work. Trust me, if the BLM were in charge, their situation would be the same. The BLM, working in forgotten backwaters with less than stringent environmental analysis (believe me, the term “rubber stamp” sometimes comes to mind) can get away with fewer folks and less money–I’d say most people don’t know we have a BLM.

      BUT, the Forest Service is moving toward a BLM model as we speeak. Forests & Districts are being combined, offices closed, and more land being placed under the jurisdiction of fewer land managers. Not necessarily a bad thing– the BLM is doing good, innovative things in places– I just hope this doesn’t result in a neglected resource overall.

      And one other thing: NEVER, NEVER, NEVER turn any of these federal lands over to the states!! State land tends to be the worst of the worst–the most abused, sold out, degraded lands under indust…. ehhh, I mean public, ownership. State governments are perpetually incapable of stewarding the resource (under funded, under staffed). Or maybe thats the authors point.

  2.   Mr. DuHamel, your logic in comparing the cost of management per acre between the USFS and the BLM is fatially flawed. You must factor in the number of recreational visitors per acre that each agency must manage.
     This is influenced by: 1) the land’s proximity to major population centers, and 2) the qualities of the land with respect to attracting visitors.

      As the majority of USFS lands were first set aside for future generations during the “great land give-away” under the General Land Office, they are clearly made up of high value land for hunting, fishing, camping, timber harvest, watershed protection, etc. Not coincidentally, the major population centers in the west grew up around these attractive lands. The annual visitor numbers directly reflect this history and land quality.

     By contrast, the majority of BLM lands are comprised of land that could not successfully be given away by General Land Office, which is not surprising as they are generally comprised of very arid landscapes with limited vegetation and comparitavely limited wildlife. As a result, major population centers did not develop in the same proximity to BLM lands as with USFS lands, and the annual visitor numbers directly reflect this.

     All one must do to see this effect in action is compare the general population, the number of major population centers, and number of annual public lands visits within the State of Nevada to those within the State of Colorado.
     
     The primary cost in managing public lands, is managing the public that is using them.

     I hope that you will re-investigate this topic from the perspecitve of cost per visitor and employee per visitor. And if you do this, I am sure you will reevalute your stance on turning USFS lands over to the DIO.  

    1. I can appreciate your point, but also consider USFS charges fees to recreational visitors any place USFS establishes infrastructure to manage them.  Also DOI manages National Parks so the same argument would apply to them.

      So you are saying the USFS needs five times the budget and three times the people to manage visitors?

      1. Jonathan, The Dept. of Interior charges access fees at many of their developed sites as well. Its not uncommon at off highway vehicle sites and many other scenic areas. Its a common way of business for all government agencies to recover costs in high traffic areas.

        As for as your main point… Visitors is one aspect of. Fire suppression and prevention is another (rather large) aspect of it. But KC is spot on. In real estate, it’s all about location, location, location. National forests often contain important watershed, timber, and other resources that are important to large urban areas, and ultimately cost more money to manage. I mean think about the difference in the resource value per acre of Pine forest versus an acre of desert scrub chaparral. Theres not much difference between the way the DOI and USFS manage land… there are unit managers, firefighters, recreation officers, scientists, vehicles, facilities, roads, etc… the USFS spends more money because national forests are inherently more expensive to maintain. 

        You could give all the land the USFS holds to the BLM to manage, and I can say with great confidence, that the only cost reduction you would see would be the reduction of infrastructure in Washington DC.

      2. The USFS does not charge fees at every developed recreation site. To the contrary, the majority of developed sites are free to use by the public. Many trailheads have toilet vaults, and most have constructed parking lots.. these are used free of charge and someone has to clean the toilets, replace the government provided toilet paper, pick up the litter, fell and remove the beetle kill trees overhanging these sites to provide the public’s expectation of safety, etc, etc, etc.

        But this is besides the point. The cost of managing the visitors that I as referring to is the cost of protecting the resource FROM the visitors. Litter, vandalism, motor vehicle resource damage, unattended and abandoned campfires, road damage from private vehicles during wet conditions, dispersed camping sanitation and human waste issues, timber stand damage/theft from un-permitted firewood cutting, and visitor vs. visitor conflicts to name a few. These issues and more force the Forest Service to patrol and when necessary police the lands they have been tasked with protecting. 

        Is short, the irresponsible nature and actions of the average visitor to public lands create the greater cost to manage/protect the resource. Thus, the more visitors per acre, the higher the cost per acre. 

    2. KC, Your reply is flawed…. USFS lands were for the sole purpose of timber harvest (agriculture) hence why the lands were given to DOA by the (the same people that grade eggs and beef). The proximity to urban areas has nothing to do with it. Nor does fishing and hunting. The Author did only list BLM acres and budget in the article. The fact is that DOI as a whole manages and protects much more land. There is a bias towards the USFS simply because they are closer to urban areas, and because they capitalized upon Smokey Bear. The USFS is an antiquated agency, that is using timber sales that no longer happen as a way to justify their existence. 

  3. Not so easy. People need to look at the forest service budget and see how much of that goes to fire. USFS is the worlds most elite wildland firefighting force, and its need is becoming greater with extreme weather and urban sprawl/ wildland urban interface

  4. KC – I am confused.  If hte USFS lands are dominated by those lands as part of the “Great Land Giveaway”, how is it that the USFS still has the lands?
    Also, why is it that just because the USFS land has some some better aspects than the average BLM land (hunting, fishing, camping, firefighters), how does that translate to the need to have independent (and I am sure sometimes competing) federal bureaucracies going all the way back to separate cabinet departments?  If USFS lands, selected people, and capabilities were selectively merged under BLM control, then important efficiencies are likely to occur.

    1. Mark, Let me clarify for you. By the “Great Land Giveaway”, I am referring to the Homestead Act of 1862 where the GLO was giving its lands to private citizens. The Forest Reserves, now called National Forests, were created by taking lands out of the pool available to the Homestead Act. These lands were set aside because they were of critical importance to the success and longevity of future Americans in the west. It was determined, and rightfully so, that the Robber Barons would cut every last tree and destroy every last river within a single generation if they could. The eastern forests and rivers at the time had already be decimated, and the affects were obvious. 

       As to your question regarding separate federal agencies to manage these lands.. my initial comment regarding Mr. Duhamel’s article simple stated that his “logic in comparing the cost of management per acre between the USFS and the BLM is fatally flawed”.

       Have a nice day. 

    1. Try Article IV of the U.S. Constitution, commonly referred to as the Property Clause: “The Congress shall have power to dispose of and make all needful rules and regulations respecting the territory or other property belonging to the United States”  U.S. Const. Article IV.  The U.S. Supreme Court has made it explicitly clear that “while the furthest reaches of the power granted by the Property Clause have not yet been definitively resolved, we have repeatedly observed that the power over the public lands thus entrusted to Congress is without limitations.”  Kleppe v. New Mexico 426 U.S. 529, 536-37 (1976).  Congress retains the power under the Property Clause to enact laws regarding federal lands and when it does, such laws necessarily override conflicting state laws under the Supremacy Clause.  When state laws conflict with federal law, federal law must prevail:  “A different rule would place the public domain of the United States completely at the mercy of state legislation.”  Kleppe, 426 U.S. at 543 citing Camfield v. United States, 167 U.S. 518, 526 (1897).

  5. In addition to what KC has noted, you have to consider the myriad other things the USFS does beyond basic public land management. There is the wildland fire fighting that Dave mentions, which consumes the bulk of the USFS budget at this point, but there are many other things as well. The USFS has regional research stations that produce cutting edge science on issues such as forest management and watershed management. The USFS is responsible for a good portion of what we know about disease management in forests and the effects of forest on drinking water quality. The USFS is also a leader in research on the use of forest products. Such things as glue lam beams, which allow us to use small diameter timber that otherwise has a limited market, were invented at the Forest Products Laboratory. The USFS also plays a significant role in helping private non-industrial forest owners manage their land, bring their timber and non-timber products to market, and understand their options for passing their land on to future generations. USFS State and Private Forestry plays an invisible role in keeping small family forests forest, as opposed to transitioning to more subdivisions and sprawl. This is especially true in the NE US and the Pacific Northwest where there are far more private forest landowners than in the interior west. In short, the USFS is an essential agency that goes far beyond simple management of public lands, though that is an important part of the agency’s mission. The truth is, a lot of what the USFS does is either behind the scenes or unacknowledged by the public as a whole. The dedicated staff of the USFS are some of the most hard working, devoted public servants I’ve had the pleasure of working with. They deserve our respect and should not be the target of overzealous efforts to save a little bit of money in the federal budget. 

    1. Ok, so of the 6.1 BILLION dollars spent by the USFS in 2011, about 2.5 BILLION went to Firefighting activities (two separate line items).  If that 2.5 BILLION were part of the BLM budget, which would now be able to combine with whatever the BLM does for firefighting on its lands, it that something that stops the earth from rotating?
      While some think that the work the USFS does in research, and works programs are essential, the reality is these activities are a luxury, a luxury that we as a nation gave up when we ran up 15 TRILLION dollars of debt.  The President’s 2012 budget has a 10% increase in the USFS budget over 2011 (from the USFS Fiscal 2012 Budget Overview). 
      Also from the Budget Overview, the priority is expressed to “ensure that the nation’s Forest and grasslands are conserved, restored, and made more resiliant to Climate Change…”  The Overview talks about how money must be spent because the temperatures are hotter and the nation is dryer.  Actually, over the past 15 years the temperature in the nation is flat or decreasing.  Anyone recall how some ski areas were open for the Fourth of July last year? Except for Texas (which seems to be the only place that Obama refused to call a disaster area for the fires this past summer), there is no need to spend money on Climate change research by the USFS.
      I understand that many people, from the time before they entered college, saw the importance to get a degree and enter employment with the USFS.   However, just because some number of people chose this profession, does not mean that they are guaranteed employment for life, regardless of how dedicated and hard working they are.  Many hard working and dedicated teachers are now unemployed also, because there just isn’t the money there.  Just as with managing a forest, there are times when you just have to cut back.  How is it that in these times of federal budget crisis, the USFS gets a 10% budget increase.  I guess shared sacrifice doesn’t exist for Federal Employees.
       

      1. I have not seen the comparison between 2011 budget and the proposed 2012 budget (which may or may not get passed anytime soon), but I can tell you as a FS employee that our local budgets have been cut anywhere from 10% (fire) to 25% (recreation).  I do however agree that it is time to get us out of the Department of Agriculture.

  6. Well, the actual fix would be to eliminate fire protection from any of the land use agencies and move the fire fighting aspect into public safety. As it stands right now, you have been led to believe that firefighting is the biggest cost to forests, and I can tell you from experience that forests use firefighting as the excuse to spend more money. Homeland Security and FEMA are suppose to respond to emergencies (all risk) around the country, but the folks who work there have no ex[perience and are desk jockies with pencil whipped certifications that say they can do a job, but they really never have, so they have to rely on USFS and Local Gov’t emergencies responders to actually get stuff done at large incidents. Make the federal firefighters an all risk single agency responsible for responding to earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, etc… as well as forest fires. Remove the current supervision structure that has non-fire personnel ‘managing’ firefighters in teh forests and making their jobs that much harder. Let the fire fighting decisions be made by firefighters instead of pencil pushers who have spent most oftheir lives pushing paper in DC until they finally get a forest. As it stands now, the gov’t hamstrings the fire fighters and the firefighters are left wishing they could do more, but are stopped by agency dogma. The only real issue here is there really isn’t good management in the USFS, it is a tool for certain groups to push an agenda and many employees are left with unrealistic goals and unrealistic budgets to perform.

  7. The Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar, was the worst choice for this cabinet position. Under his leadership of the Dept. of the Interior (DOI), he does what HE wants. He is destroying our vast taxpaying public lands and wildlife. The wild horses are being eliminated. The BLM helicopter roundups are brutal and massive. So many horses…& foals, get injured, ill, die. Undercover, many are sent to slaughter. His Czar rule has been contested by Congressmen, scientists, advocates. He does not respond. Salazar, a rancher, has taken away vast lands given to the wild horses by law, and leases vast lands to cattlemen for a minimum fee. Presently, there are @ 20,000 wild horses and @ 8,000,000 cattle on our public lands. And then there is the massacre of the wolves and bison. And I need to note the Gulf oil “spill.” Salazar is accountable for this disaster to the ocean, wildlife, marine life. Just think about this. Under Salazar’s rule, thousands of animals have been killed, but the cattle survive. The DOI under Salazar is a Kingdom unto itself. Corruption carried over from the Bush Administration, only worse. Salaczar needs to go. Resign.

    1. Ronnie – I agree with the ineptitude of Ken Salaczar (I like that pun), but from the opposite side.  The DOI has been inventing reasons to prevent oil exploration in the United States.  I know they are devoted to AGW, so I am sure to them this is the reason, laws be damned.  Through DOI Secretorial Order 3310, the DOI has been seizing lands and blocking them from use beyond what legislative authority they were given.  While the BP oil spill was in progress, the DOI stopped efforts to contain the oil, apparently so that it was clear that BP was liable, and the US Government was not complicit in any damages.  Does everyone remember that for the first week, all Obama did was reiterate that BP is the responsible party, and they need to set up a fund to pay out to the people damaged by the oil.  This from the administration famously quoted “Never let a crisis go to waste.”
      So yes, Ken Salazar is inept and imperialistic.  However, his allowing the death of wild horses is not the worst of his sins.  And I think, Ronnie, that if you think good ole Ken ought to go, I think that you will think that my choice for DOI secretary in a year should never had been born.

  8. Please don’t forget that the Forest Service plays an enormous decision-making role in how our ‘public’ lands are divvied up for exploitation by the private sector; to wit, the choice to allow mining on ‘public’ lands despite overwhelming evidence of environmental ruin.  One senior (very senior) FS official has said that the highest and best use of public lands  is for mineral extraction!  We, the public, naively assume these agencies are there to protect and maintain our wild areas for public use and for the benefit and safety of our dwindling wildlife.  In fact, like most of the rest of our fading country, they are for sale to the highest bidder and the agencies often play the role of broker.

  9. Oh, if were only as simple as your little calculator could figure.  It doesn’t come down to basic arithmetic and punching a few keys, calling out “eureka, I’ve found it” style answers.  There are a plethora of elements to the equation as to why it costs more to management our national forests than it does to watch over vast tracks of open lands… just as it is more costly for journalists to cover a story about some celebrities’ antics than it does our national economic disasters.  One’s too hard to explain, so journalists simplify by cutting fact checking and instead use prepackaged rhetoric rather than look deeper and harder into the reasons for our financial calamities.  It’s lots easier to point fingers at stupid celebrities and the antics they offer for good stage play.
     
    Our National Forests aren’t just about trees.  The Forest Service works to protect watershed to clean drinking water, environmental management to retain carbon release, wildlife management for a balanced ecosystem, and protection and preservation of life in keeping meth labs, marijuana fields and interlopers under contrl so you and your families can enjoy the forests without threat of loss of life.
     
    When I read stories like this one I wonder if we really need as many media outlets and media moguls telling us what to think, when the old school big three were doing just fine many years ago.  Of course, you can’t control people unless you control what you want them to think, am I right?

  10. I see that there are some staunch defenders of USFS.  That’s well and good.  But few of these comments are directed to the question in the first paragraph: Why do we need both BLM and USFS, two agencies that do essentially the same thing?

    1. The huge cost difference in managing these lands is simply because one Agency manages “junk” while the other manages “jewels.” Really now, who the heck wants to camp in the middle of a salt flat? Try looking more closely at the lands they manage. According to your logic, one might argue that on Mars very little resources are needed to manage its lands as well. And, yes, managing at least ten times the visitors is justifiable in having a great many more employees — just ask the Smithsonian.

  11. It would make sense to put all the lands management agencies under one direction… But my experience in working for the federal government, they usually choose the path of most resistance. They stay away from the plans that actually make sense (all the agencies do)… and you have to remember, these are Federal Government agencies. And who runs federal agencies? POLITICIANS! So it doesn’t matter wheather the forest service and the BLM merge, there will still be the same bull caca going on that there have always been. For Example… the Forest Service stopped logging becasue the treehuggers (excuse my french) lobbied to the SENATE (the politicians) to stop logging and won. So Captol Hill makes the Forest Service stop all logging contracts, and converts them to small sales (fire wood). Somebody else cries to the senate and offers a caca load of money to the key senate voters and gets thier way… It wont matter… someone will always have a nephew or friend wanting to make extra money and gain valuable contracts, so when things get to the crossroads, the politicians usually choose what’s best for them, and not necessarily what is best for the american public lands or the people…

  12. There are currently about 90,000 journalists in the U.S.  That’s 1,800 journalists per state. To quote the author… “Maybe looking at that number is not a fair comparison, but it is suggestive that we,” are grossly saturated with uneducated, oversimplificating journalists.

  13. The two agencies have different Missions.

    The USFS was created to protect Watersheds and Timber of the Nation.
    The BLM has a multiple use Mandate.

    The two are mutually exclusive.  I am not saying there are not Programs that could not be merged, but there is also a distictive difference in that US Forest Lands are “FOREST RESERVE” lands, meaning they are held in abayence by the Secretary of Agriculture for the Nation until they are not needed anymore.  Once they are not needed anymore, they would be transfered over to the BLM to become>>>> TA DA

    “PUBLIC LAND”  Which was all the land left over from the homestead craze.  When the states were given statehood, they were given the choice of taking all the land, thereby having to pay taxes on it all, or taking school sections, usually, sections 12, 24, and 36.  The school sections are State Owned land free and clear for the states to do what they want.  In some cases, like for example, Nevada – they took the money and run…they said, “this old scrub land, whose gonna want it” so they took the money from the federal government laughingly thinking, ha ha…we don’t need any of that land, lets give it all to them to manage.  This is why in some counties in Nevada 98% of the land base is Public land…not much of a taxable base there for the county, now is there.  

    Anyway, the multiple use mandate tells us, unless designated in a land use plan, all lands are available for all uses, grazing, recreation, oil and gas exploration, mining, archaeology, wild horses and burros, riparian and wetlands, wildlife habitat, etc.

    So you see.  They are TWO VERY DISTINCT AGENCIES with TWO VERY DISTINCT MISSIONS.  They could very well be under the same department and secretary…but combining them, well…that just goes against our Western History. 

      1. Then why are there so many people hiking, camping, fishing, and hunting on Forest Service lands for free? You gotta pay to get into a National Park.. but not a National Forest.

    1. Here is the description of the US Dept of Agriculture:
      “The Department of Agriculture works to improve and maintain farm income and to develop and expand markets abroad for agricultural products. The Department helps to curb and to cure poverty, hunger, and malnutrition. It works to enhance the environment and to maintain production capacity by helping landowners protect the soil, water, forests, and other natural resources. Rural development, credit, and conservation programs are key resources for carrying out national growth policies. Department research findings directly or indirectly benefit all Americans. The Department, through inspection and grading services, safeguards and ensures standards of quality in the daily food supply.”
      Talk about a square peg jumping around a bunch of round holes!  How does the forest service fit within the USDA? Concur that today the USFS amd BLM are not aligned in mission.  However, the USFS mission seems far closer ot the BLM than with the rest of the Dept of Agriculture.

    2. On more from this morning – you can’t make this stuff up.  If there is anything that screams about a bureaucracy trying to grow itself, it is this.  How many of these jobs from the $.15 Christmas Tree tax would be outside of Washington DC?  My guess is that it would be very few.  
       
      President Obama’s Agriculture Department today announced that it will impose a new 15-cent charge on all fresh Christmas trees—the Christmas Tree Tax—to support a new Federal program to improve the image and marketing of Christmas trees.
      In the Federal Register of November 8, 2011, Acting Administrator of Agricultural Marketing David R. Shipman announced that the Secretary of Agriculture will appoint a Christmas Tree Promotion Board.  The purpose of the Board is to run a “program of promotion, research, evaluation, and information designed to strengthen the Christmas tree industry’s position in the marketplace; maintain and expend existing markets for Christmas trees; and to carry out programs, plans, and projects designed to provide maximum benefits to the Christmas tree industry” (7 CFR 1214.46(n)).  And the program of “information” is to include efforts to “enhance the image of Christmas trees and the Christmas tree industry in the United States” (7 CFR 1214.10).

  14. I work for the USFS and have long questioned why all federal land management agencies were not combined under DOI.  I agree there is a rich history amongst the various agencies, but maybe its past due to move on.   Lets move the USFS into DOI and look to consolidate federal firefighters into one unit where it makes sense.
    And yes, I work with a bunch of folks that came straight out of college into the agency, and do work very hard, but sometimes are out of touch with the common man on the street. 

  15. Jonathan,
    You make some good points. You have a crystal clear, black and white view of the BLM and USFS. However, your lack of experience dealing with either agency is apparent; your views are very simplified. Let me guess, you support Herman Cain?
    I digress. Of course those that would like to see little or no regulation concerning public lands court the BLM, as they pump out mining and drilling permits as fast as they are requested (or they used to, during our country’s move to the right and down, as I like to call GW’s 8 years in office). They lack staffing, so they have little to no presence on the land they manage. Those is your frame of mind would like to keep it that way, correct?
    So, Jonathan, I can’t answer your question since the premise on which it is based is incorrect. They do not do essentially the same thing. What is this thing of which you speak? I suggest you familiarize yourself with the Forest Service, its mission, etc. Do the same for the BLM. I would also suggest educating yourself concerning the history of our nation’s land; specifically how it was apportioned in the beginning. That may lead you to ask a relevant question, one that hasn’t been asked numerous times before.
    Also, your last comment is very telling. Why don’t we privatize all public lands, literally just hand them over to the highest bidder (AKA private industry)? Then we can be energy independent, use our own natural resources, and not waste money on federal agencies. Sound good?

  16. Rico you guess wrong.  I have had experience with both BLM and USFS when establishing drilling projects for mineral exploration.  I remember one time USFS was trying to get us to do something was would be a safety hazard and was against MSHA regulations.

    Rico do you work for USFS? 

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