Feinstein, Thompson praise new US Forest Service chief
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and Rep. Glenn “GT” Thompson, R-Pa., the House Agriculture Committee ranking member, late Monday praised Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack’s announcement that Randy Moore will serve as the 20th chief of the U.S. Forest Service, a division of the Agriculture Department.
In the announcement, Vilsack noted that Moore has been serving as regional forester in the Pacific Southwest Region in California since 2007 where he has had responsibility for 18 national forests, covering one-fifth of the state on 20 million acres of land.
Additionally, he has overseen state and private forestry programs in Hawaii and the U.S. affiliated Pacific Islands.
“Randy Moore has been a catalyst for change and creativity in carrying out the Forest Service’s mission to sustain the health, diversity and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations,” said Vilsack.
“In his role as regional forester, Randy has been a conservation leader on the forefront of climate change, most notably leading the region’s response to the dramatic increase in catastrophic wildfires in California over the last decade.
“His proven track record of supporting and developing employees and putting communities at the center of the Forest Service’s work positions him well to lead the agency into the future at this critical time in our country.”
Upon swearing in, Moore will serve as the first African American to hold the role of chief of the Forest Service, USDA noted.
Current Forest Service Chief Vicki Christiansen has announced she will step down from her role on July 26.
“Chief Christiansen and Regional Forester Moore will continue to collaborate on an intentional leadership transition between now and then as the Forest Service gears up for a tough summer of predicted elevated fire activity across the western United States,” USDA said.
USDA noted that before his western duties, Moore served as the regional forester for the Eastern Region headquartered in Milwaukee, Wis., for five years.
USDA said Moore started his career in conservation in 1978 with USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service in North Dakota. His Forest Service career began in the Pike and San Isabel National Forests in Colorado and the Comanche and Cimarron National Grasslands in Kansas.
He served as deputy forest supervisor on the National Forests of North Carolina and the Mark Twain National Forest in Missouri before serving as forest supervisor of the Twain Forest.
Moore also has national-level experience in Washington, serving as acting associate deputy chief for the National Forest System and the national deputy soils program manager.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in plant and soil science from Southern University in Baton Rouge, La.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said in a news release, “Randy Moore is an excellent choice to serve as the next chief of the Forest Service.”
“I’ve had the pleasure of working with him in his current role and believe he’s well prepared to lead this agency and its 25,000 employees who manage 193 million acres of public forests.
“As the regional forester for the Pacific Southwest Region since 2007, Randy Moore has led management efforts for the entire region, including California’s 18 national forests that cover nearly one-fifth of our state. That experience is going to be critical as the Forest Service prepares to deal with increasingly difficult challenges related to climate change, particularly drought and wildfire.
“I also want to thank outgoing Chief Vicki Christiansen for her nearly 40 years of public service with the federal government and as an Arizona and Washington state forester. She has been an advocate for new authorities to help reduce wildfire and for raising the pay scale for federal wildfire fighters so we can hire and retain this critical workforce.
“I look forward to continuing to work with Chief Moore in his new capacity on this and many other important issues. California understands all too well the challenges facing our forests and I’m glad a Californian will head efforts to tackle them.”
Thompson said, “The Forest Service will be in very qualified hands with Randy Moore at the helm.”
“I look forward to working with him in this role on legislative and administrative actions to address our nation’s forest health crisis and restore rural economies. We need bold and innovative solutions to effectively tackle the many issues facing the agency and the communities it serves, and I know Randy is up to the task.
“Chief Christensen has done a fantastic job. I thank her for her years of service and extend my best wishes to her in retirement.”
–The Hagstrom Report
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