Mark Rey; Not Going To Jail

The U.S. District Court Judge cleared Mark Rey of the contempt charges yesterday. From the Missoulian:

“U.S. Agriculture Undersecretary Mark Rey walked out of federal court a free man Wednesday in Missoula, wearing not an orange inmate’s jumpsuit but the gray business suit with American flag lapel pin he had donned for his contempt hearing.

U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy cleared Rey, the Bush administration’s top forest official, and the Forest Service of contempt and withdrew his threat to jail Rey or ground all fire retardant air tankers until the agency evaluated the environmental impact of the chemical slurry.

Molloy did not rule on the merits of the Forest Service’s environmental analysis, and the watchdog group whose lawsuit prompted the showdown said it planned to take new legal action to challenge the agency’s finding that aerial retardant causes little harm to fish and other aquatic creatures.
“We accomplished what we wanted to do, which was to make the Forest Service follow the law,” said Andy Stahl, director of the Forest Service Employees for Environmental Ethics, based in Eugene, Ore.

In his testimony, Rey apologized for the Forest Service’s tardiness in following the judge’s order to complete an environmental analysis of the potential harm from ammonium phosphate, the primary ingredient in retardant dropped on wildfires.”

Arson Threat Against Sierra Club Members

An idiot who has a computer and knows how to use it has posted on his blog the suggestion that…

“If you know a Sierra Club member, please feel free to set their home on fire.”

I hesitate to post about this, because it is probably, like the “Forest Jihad” threat, just the rantings of a crazed lunatic who did not receive enough attention from his mother, so he gets it by posting on the Internet.

But, you’ll probably hear about this anyway, so….. The Missoulian has the whole story.

Years ago I was a card-carrying member of the Sierra Club. But when they began going over the top with their policies, such as demanding that there be no timber harvesting on National Forests, I left the organization. Watchdog organizations serve a purpose, but they are most effective when they present a reasoned, logical, and practical point of view. The arson threat is of course absurd, and I wish no ill-will towards the Sierra Club.

(Thanks to Dick Mangan for the tip.)

Mark Rey Not In Jail Yet

Undersecretary of Agriculture Mark Rey spent part of the day in court, but nothing is decided yet. The process will continue tomorrow afternoon (Wednesday). More information is on the Missoulian site.

“Faced with possible jail time, U.S. Agriculture Undersecretary Mark Rey on Tuesday repeatedly apologized to a federal judge in Missoula for the Forest Service’s delays in evaluating the environmental impacts of fire retardant.

But Rey, the Bush administration’s top forest official, insisted the agency has complied with the National Environmental Policy Act and the Endangered Species Act.

U.S. District Judge Donald W. Molloy is presiding over a watchdog group’s 2003 lawsuit that accuses the Forest Service of violating the nation’s top environmental laws in the agency’s use of fire retardant.The hearing is scheduled to resume Wednesday afternoon.”


Still More Photos From USFS Meeting

FEDSIt’s good to put faces with the names of folks I have heard about but not yet met. Here is Anthony Vergnetti, of Federal Employee Defense Services, who offers professional liability insurance to federal employees as well as AD employees. He said they are exploring the possibility of offering the insurance to contractors and consultants.

Even More Photos From USFS Meeting

Storm King Technologies
Storm King Technologies. Photo by Bill Gabbert

This is a new aerial ignition system developed by Jim Roth’s company Storm King Technologies. It uses the same chemicals as the “ping pong ball” machine, but the materials take up less space. Each device is about the size of the end of your thumb and they come on a continuous belt. It also records the location of each incindiary device using GPS.

More Photos From USFS Meeting

Bethany Hannah
Bethany Hannah. Photo by Bill Gabbert

This is Bethany Hannah of Loomis Hannah. She started a company that writes applications for government employees seeking jobs…or promotions. She said she does as much work for higher level employees as she does for lower level folks.

The word on the street is that she does excellent work. She also has a sense of humor, which is helpful when you’re working on something as un-fun as a job application.