Obama names nominee to oversee national forests

Published 6:26 pm Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The Obama administration’s pick to be the new undersecretary of Agriculture in charge of the U.S. Forest Service has surprised conservation groups.

The White House announced late Tuesday that Mississippi state conservationist Homer Lee Wilkes, a 28-year veteran of the federal Natural Resources Conservation Service, is being nominated as the new undersecretary of Agriculture for natural resources and environment.

Andy Stahl of Forest Service Employees for Environmental Ethics says Wilkes is the first person in at least 30 years to be tapped for the job without any background in forest policy, indicating the Obama administration has no specific plans for managing national forests.

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