Professionals, not cowboys

  Dear HCN,


After reading Ed Marston's Comb Wash "A Stark Victory in Utah" editorial in the January issue of HCN, I am very disappointed.


I am a long-time BLM employee but am not personally involved in Comb Wash. However, I know enough about the issue and BLM to know that your editorial is full of assumptions.


Let me point out just a few of the "misunderstandings."


You try to perpetuate the myth that BLM has a cowboy culture. That is a tragic disservice to our many professionals who try very hard to implement our many laws and policies, and who really have a strong and proper land and resource ethic.


To call the Moab BLM office "not only a bad cowboy, but a felon" seems to reach beyond even your editorial licence.


Environmental interests did not "bring BLM to trial." Hearings were held, with the intent to see if proper decisions were made in light of administrative procedure. The administrative law judge, Mr. Rampton, said the decisions were wrong and instructed BLM Moab to do differently. His decision may or may not have broader implications for BLM; time will tell.


Your characterization of the emotional state of Moab BLM employees is not accurate. Knowing many of those employees personally, I am inclined to say that their frustrations center primarily on the fact that they find themselves swept away in constant paperwork caused by endless appeals and inquiries from many sources, including environmental activists.


Walk a mile in their moccasins before you pretend to be knowledgeable enough to mock them. One can only wonder how well you, Joe Feller, Scott Groene, or John Rampton could do.





Deane H. Zeller


Salt Lake City, Utah








Environmental interests did not "bring BLM to trial". Hearings were held, like hundreds of administrative hearings have been held before on other public land issues. There was no intent to find innocence or guilt, except perhaps on your part or the part of other special interests. The intent was to see if the proper decisions were made in light of administrative procedure. The administrative law judge, Mr. Rampton, said the decisions were wrong and instructed BLM Moab to do differently. His decision may or may not have broader implications for BLM; time will tell.





Your characterization of the emotional state of Moab BLM employees is not accurate. Pointing at the local managers as the cause of this "collective whistleblowing", as you call it, is convenient but irresponsible reporting. If you wanted to be fair and accurate in explaining their situation you could have mentioned the impact on their morale of ongoing attacks by critics, the complexity of their jobs, and working for a BLM Director that listened only to a few local environmental representatives. Knowing many of those employees personally, I am inclined to say that their frustrations center primarily around the fact that they find themselves swept away in constant paperwork caused by endless appeals and inquiries from many sources, including environmental activists. They are really frustrated because they find less time to do the things that are most important to them: that is, properly manage the public's lands and resources. I believe what they really want is management at all levels to do something about their frustrations.





While it is easy to criticize and discredit BLM managers like Gene Nodine, Roger Zortman, Ed Scherick and BLM employees in general, and to imply that they are less than good public servants, and felons, you could take perhaps a more difficult road and express thanks that people of this stature and competence are willing to endure the stress of trying to manage your public lands. Walk a mile in their moccasins, Mr. Marston, before you pretend to be knowledgeable enough to mock them. One can only wonder how well you, Joe Feller, Scott Groene, or John Rampton could do?





In your closing line you admonished BLM to "obey the law and tell


the truth" Excellent advice, sir, for all of us.


Deane H. Zeller


Salt Lake City, Utah


\%











High Country News Classifieds
  • OPERATIONS AND FINANCE MANAGER
    Great Old Broads for Wilderness, a national grassroots organization led by women, seeks a resourceful, self-motivated, team player to serve as Operations and Finance Manager....
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    ORGANIZATIONAL BACKGROUND Colorado Canyons Association (CCA) fosters community stewardship, education and awareness of our National Conservation Lands with a focus on Dominguez-Escalante, Gunnison Gorge and...
  • WYOMING STATE DIRECTOR
    Save the World ... or at least a piece of it! Join The Nature Conservancy and make a tangible and lasting impact by creating a...
  • PROGRAM DIRECTOR FOR AN ENVIRONMENTAL ADVOCACY NON-PROFIT NEAR YOSEMITE
    Demanding, but rewarding, advocacy work on forest, water, wildland, and wildlife issues. Applicants should have experience dealing with land management planning, public speaking, grassroots organizing,...
  • NEW AGRARIAN APPRENTICESHIP
    Quivira Coalition's 2020 New Agrarian Apprenticeships in Regenerative Ranching and Farming -Apprenticeships run 4/20 - 11/20 Applications accepted 10/15/19 - 12/1/19 NAP partners with skilled...
  • PHILANTHROPY DIRECTOR AT WILDERNESS WORKSHOP
    Wilderness Workshop seeks a full time Philanthropy Director to raise funds for our team. Learn more: www.wildernessworkshop.org
  • EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT WITH WESTERN RESOURCE ADVOCATES
    Western Resource Advocates (WRA) seeks an enthusiastic and organized problem solver to join our growing team as an Executive Assistant. The Executive Assistant is instrumental...
  • WYOMING OUTDOOR COUNCIL
    Two positions: Development Director OR Development Writer, Communications Director. Full job descriptions at https://wyomingoutdoorcouncil.org/careers.
  • CONSERVATION PROJECT MANAGER
    Great Land Trust seeks to hire a Conservation Project Manager. Position is full-time, based in Anchorage, Alaska. First review of applications will be on October...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    Eagle Valley Land Trust Executive Director Position Description Summary of Position: The Executive Director, working with and reporting to the Board of Directors, has overall...
  • FINANCE & LOGISTICS COORDINATOR
    The Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory, founded in 1928 as an independent nonprofit organization, is a biological field station located near Crested Butte, Colorado. Our primary...
  • DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR
    See Full Job Description
  • DEVELOPMENT COORDINATOR
    Position: Development Coordinator Responsible to: Executive Director Time Commitment: 15-20 hours per week, or as otherwise agreed upon General Description: The Development Coordinator assists the...
  • EDUCATION CENTER MANAGER
    Friends of Cedar Mesa seeks a full-time Education Manager for the Bears Ears Education Center to provide day to day operational and administrative oversight. See...
  • TROUT UNLIMITED SCP SOUTHWEST REGIONAL DIRECTOR
    Seeking to hire an experienced advocate/manager to oversee the organization's sportsmen/women-driven advocacy in Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona. Open until filled
  • PROGRAM MANAGER
    for northern AZ collaborative conservation ranchlands group
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    Partners are seeking an experienced and energetic Executive Director who is excited about the opportunity to lead our growing organization! A full description of the...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    High Country News Seeks an Executive Director to advance its mission, grow its audience and influence, and strategically and sustainably guide the organization through a...
  • 2 PROPERTIES ON THE WESTERN EDGE OF THE GILA WILDERNESS
    Organic farm, hot springs, San Francisco River runs through both. [email protected]
  • CHUCK BURR'S CULTUREQUAKE.COM BLOG
    Change will happen when we see a new way of living. Thinking to save the world.