Forest Service Chief Dale Bosworth announced that he will uphold the Sierra Nevada Forest Plan, which has been called one of the agency's most heavily appealed decisions ever (HCN, 8/27/01: Restoring the Range of Light). Bosworth did, however, call for further review of sections that set fire policy and overlapped with the Quincy Library Group's management plan, a move that some groups warn could leave the door open for increased levels of logging.
President Bush has nominated
Rebecca Watson as assistant secretary of the
Interior for land and minerals management, a post from
which she'll supervise the BLM and two federal mining agencies
(HCN, 1/15/01: Colorado tapped for Interior). Watson previously
served on the litigation board of the Mountain States Legal
Foundation, whose alumni include Interior Secretary Gale Norton.
She also has served as a legal advisor to the Montana Snowmobile
The Mountain States Legal
Foundation's challenge to six recently designated national
monuments stalled out when a D.C. district court judge
dismissed the lawsuit (HCN, 4/23/01: Monuments caught in the
crosshairs). The suit challenges the president's authority to
create national monuments under the Antiquities Act; the foundation
says it plans to appeal
With possible contempt of
court charges hanging overhead for her agency's mishandling of the
Indian trust fund debacle, Interior Secretary Gale Norton
announced the creation of the Bureau of Indian Trust Assets
Management (HCN, 1/31/00: Judge rules on Indian money
mess). Ross Swimmer, a former assistant secretary of Indian
Affairs, will head the new bureau.
Torres-Martinez Band of Desert Cahuilla Indians are about
to see the first of a total of $14.2 million in
reparations for lands drowned when the Salton Sea was
created in the early 1900s (HCN, 6/19/00: Accidental refuge: Should
we save the Salton Sea?). The 2002 Interior Department's
appropriations bill, passed on Oct. 17, includes $6 million; the
remainder will come from the Justice Department and local water
agencies under the provisions of a settlement signed by President
Clinton last December.