From the Grand Junction Free Press:
President Barack Obama chose a Colorado natural resources official Thursday to be the new agriculture undersecretary in charge of the U.S. Forest Service. Harris Sherman, executive director of the Colorado Department of Natural Resources, will be nominated for the federal post, which requires Senate confirmation, Obama said.Harris Sherman, executive director of the Colorado Department of Natural Resources, will be nominated for the federal post, which requires Senate confirmation, Obama said.
Here’s an editorial about the appointment from The Durango Herald:
That job is important to Colorado in that the person holding it oversees this country’s national forests. And with former U.S. Senator Ken Salazar now secretary of the Interior, and therefore in charge of the Bureau of Land Management, all of this state’s federal lands will be supervised by native sons.
Sherman has an extensive résumé, all of which is on target for his new job. He has had a long career in Colorado government and now is director of the state’s Department of Natural Resources, a position he also held under Gov. Richard Lamm…
Matt Garrington, field director for Environment Colorado – a group whose name pretty well explains where it is coming from – immediately issued a statement describing Sherman in glowing terms. “Harris Sherman,” he wrote, “is a stalwart conservationist and an excellent pick. … Sherman has spent a lifetime working to conserve open spaces, wildlife habitat and Colorado’s precious water resources.”
More coverage from The Durango Herald (Joe Hanel):
Sherman has been one of the most high-profile members of Gov. Bill Ritter’s Cabinet. He led the charge for Ritter’s drive to overhaul the Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, and he now serves as chairman of that commission. He also leads the Interbasin Compact Committee, a group that is supposed to broker a deal on water resources between the Western and Eastern slopes…
In June, officials with the Wilderness Society and Trout Unlimited went public with their criticism of Sherman and urged Obama not to nominate him. “We haven’t agreed with him on everything, and certainly Colorado passing its own roadless rule is one of those issues,” said Wilderness Society spokeswoman Suzanne Jones. But Jones pledged her group would work well with Sherman on roadless forests and other issues, including climate change. “We think he will be a good steward,” she said.
By far Sherman’s biggest fight, though, has been with the gas and oil industry. He led the effort to get the Legislature to revamp the Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, then steered the commission through a yearlong process to pass environmental rules. The Colorado Petroleum Association fought Sherman almost every step of the way, but on Thursday, its president had only kind words. “We always had a good relationship with Harris,” said Stan Dempsey. “He’s certainly well-qualified, and I’m sure he’ll serve the administration well.”
Sherman served as director of the Colorado Department of Natural Resources in the 1970s under Gov. Richard Lamm. Between then and his appointment by Ritter, he was a partner at the Denver law firm Arnold & Porter, specializing in natural resources…
[Secretary of Interior Ken] Salazar sent his endorsement in a news release Thursday. “In the many years I have worked with Harris Sherman, I have known him to be a top-notch public servant, a champion for Colorado’s land, water and wildlife, and a problem-solver,” Salazar said. “President Obama and Secretary Vilsack have made a terrific choice in nominating him to serve our country as under secretary for Natural Resources and Environment.”
More coverage from The Denver Post (John Ingold and Bruce Finley):
As undersecretary for Natural Resources and Environment, Sherman would oversee the U.S. Forest Service and the Natural Resources Conservation Service. This would put him in charge of vast swaths of land in the West as well as some significant conservation programs…
With former U.S. Sen. Ken Salazar as secretary of the Interior Department and former Colorado U.S. Attorney Tom Strickland as Interior’s assistant secretary for Fish, Wildlife and Parks, Sherman’s confirmation would put Coloradans in charge of roughly 700 million acres of federal land, or nearly 30 percent of the land area in the United States…
Meanwhile, pine beetle battlers said they are hopeful Sherman — the co-chairman of the state’s Forest Health Advisory Council — will draw greater attention to the problem in Washington. “He gets it,” said state Sen. Dan Gibbs, D-Summit County. “He’s not someone who’s coming from an area where he needs a lot of education on it. He’s been working on these problems for a number of years.”
More coverage from the Colorado Independent (David O. Williams):
Others in the environmental community felt Sherman’s direction of the Department of Natural Resources during the state’s push for its own roadless rule would hurt his chances. The Colorado Roadless Rule, crafted by the state to manage more than 4 million acres of the state’s largely undeveloped public lands, has been moved steadily forward by Gov. Bill Ritter’s administration despite conservationist’s concerns that it allows far too many road-building exceptions for power and water infrastructure, logging, ski area expansion and oil and gas development.
In fact, a group of Colorado environmental groups is launching the “Don’t Sell Colorado Short” Roadless Road Show at the Alliance Center in lower downtown Denver Friday, heading to Durango for a formal launch before moving around the state to document and call attention to Coloradan’s support for a more restrictive roadless rule like the one the Clinton administration put in place in 2001. That rule was quickly tossed aside by the Bush administration, but conservationists, for the most part, seek reinstatement of a nationwide rule similar to the Clinton rule.
“We would like to congratulate Mr. Sherman and ask that he promote the long-term conservation of our backcountry hunting and fishing traditions,” said Joel Webster, associate director of campaigns for the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership’s Center for Western Lands, “including upholding and defending the Roadless Area Conservation Rule, which safeguards our nation’s roadless areas, should he be confirmed as undersecretary.”
Here’s an excerpt from an editorial praising the Sherman pick from The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel:
It is likely to be environmentalists and sportsmen’s groups that raise the greatest ruckus during Sherman’s confirmation hearings for his new job — undersecretary for natural resources and the environment at the U.S. Department of Agriculture…
Sherman has for decades taken a thoughtful, moderate approach to natural resource management in this state. He is an excellent choice for the Department of Agriculture job.
More coverage from The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka). From the article:
As a member of Governor Ritter’s cabinet, Sherman oversees Colorado’s energy, water, wildlife, parks, forestry and state lands programs and serves as chairman of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, and co-chairman of the Forest Health Advisory Council. Obama and Vilsack have made restoration, conservation and management of America’s forests and private working lands a priority in order to make them more resilient to climate change and ecologically sustainable for current and future generations, according a statement from the USDA…
Sherman moved the IBCC into thinking about long-range planning, said Jay Winner one of the Arkansas River basin’s representatives on the state board. “I think where Harris Sherman is going will be of great benefit to the state,” said Winner, general manager of the Lower Arkansas Valley Water Conservancy District. “He had the foresight to look at the future of the state 50 years out, and was an inspiration to the IBCC. He got us talking about things that will affect the state for years to come.”[…]
“Sherman’s tenaciousness will make him a strong champion for the environment in the Obama administration. Environment Colorado looks forward to working with him and knows he’ll bring his same conservation ethic to work toward the protection of our forests for years to come,” said Matt Garrington, advocate of Environment Colorado.
More coverage from the Denver Business Journal:
Sherman received a bachelor’s degree from Colorado College and his law degree from Columbia University Law School. As managing and senior partner of the Denver office of law firm Arnold & Porter, his law practice focused on natural resources, environmental, water, public land, real estate, and Indian law.