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September 16, 2005

Roadless Area Conservation National Advisory Committee Members Announced

WASHINGTON, Sept. 16, 2005 - Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns today announced the selection of members to the Roadless Area Conservation National Advisory Committee. This committee will provide advice and recommendations on implementing the state petitions for Inventoried Roadless Area Management Rule adopted by USDA in May of 2005. ...

Members of the committee will review petitions submitted by states, seek consensus, identify issues, and provide the Secretary or the Secretary's designee with advice and recommendations on implementing the State Petitions Rule. The committee membership is geographically diverse, with members from ten states and the District of Columbia.

Members of the committee include: Darin Bird, representing state-elected officials; Robert Cope, representing locally-elected officials; Adena Cook and Geraldine Link, representing developed recreation organizations; Jeff Eisenberg, James Riley, and Gregory Schaefer, representing commercial interest organizations; Denny Scott representing organized labor organizations; and Paul Hansen, Dale Harris, Todd Schulke, Howard Vaughan, and Chris Wood representing environmental organizations

Posted by Dave on September 16, 2005 at 03:16 PM | Permalink


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Posted by: john freemuth

Interesting list. All the members certainly have an interest, but there seems to be no spot here for people who might have a wider perspective while not being identified with a specific interest.

john freemuth | Sep 18, 2005 12:41:05 PM

Posted by: dave iverson


Agree that wider perspective representation seems largely absent. But who is to represent such on a committee.

Years ago Dick Behan laid down an interesting truism in something titled "Why the Majority is Silent: Some Points to Ponder While Waiting for the Sierra Club to Arrive."

Behan's main point, as I recall, is that it proves too easy for government agents to claim they have discovered wide public agreement (from the silent majority) when all they’ve conjured up is renewed justification for their own pet schemes.

Finding someone to represent "wider perspectives" proves problematic I think. Even elected representation proves easily corrupted. Look at the “bought and paid for” problem with elected legislatures. So we, each of us, deal with the selfish pleadings of special interests as they arise and try to do the best we can. No easy answers…

I find it quite interesting, personally, that my old college office partner and hunting buddy, Jim Riley, and Mike Dombeck’s sidekick Chris Wood get to try to find common ground – else none – on this committee.

dave iverson | Sep 19, 2005 8:41:29 AM

Posted by: John Freemuth


I disagree, but let me make the case a bit differently. First, you provided the name of someone (not that he would do it these days) who is a perfect example of what I had in mind. Dick Behan. It not that the "wider pespective" person would be unbiased or perfectly neutral (they would not), but they would be more likely to see things that those representing concrete interests are not likely to see.

You are exactly right in that government agencies are often likely to claim they have "found" public agreement when it may not exist..so who better to remind people of that in the process than someone like Dick? Instead we get another example of the professional interest group state...Madison's factions. Who is there to prod people towards thinking about the "permanent and aggregate interests of the community?"

John Freemuth | Sep 20, 2005 12:15:15 PM

Posted by: dave iverson


It might be interesting to choose someone at random to fill those shoes. But then they'd not have enough background to help, I'd venture. How would you go about finding "people who might have a wider perspective while not being identified with a specific interest?"

dave iverson | Sep 21, 2005 4:04:37 PM

Posted by: John Freemuth


What happened is that people like Dick were nominated. I was, for example. They werent picked, however, by whoever picked. As a USFS social scientist, you probably find this sort of "choice" fun to think about.

John Freemuth | Sep 25, 2005 6:14:08 PM

Posted by: dave iverson


I guess that in a Red State - Blue State world, we love polarization so much that politicians and political administrators settle too soon on polarized perspectives from special interest representatives as the only views that count. We see it all the time, for example, in Congressional inquiry panels.

There is still a valid role for “wider perspectives” from academia and perchance elsewhere. But as you've noted on this blog, even that is slipping away as moneyed interests (from both the for-profit and non-profit worlds) are getting their tentacles into academia.

I think it would have been great to have both you and Behan on the committee.

dave iverson | Sep 26, 2005 10:01:25 AM

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