Check your compass, Vilsack
Agriculture Secretary Vilsack wants to have an "adult conversation with rural America," so let's have one.
For starters, Mr. Secretary, you should have a face-to-face discussion with county commissioners from those areas affected by your Northwest Plan to protect the Northern spotted owl. They will tell you a little bit about rural America and the millions of citizens that have been affected by this plan for almost 20 years.
Why have you not directed the Forest Service to withdraw the forest management plan that has crippled the economic communities of the Pacific Northwest in Washington, Oregon and California? This plan has failed miserably, yet you protect the efficacy of such, even after a past chief of the Forest Service, who co-authored the plan, declared it ineffective and no longer relevant.
Fires on federal forests continue to grow larger and more costly every year, yet, there you sit, commenting how irrelevant rural America is.
Everyone with any understanding of how forested lands and the interdependency of animal life function, knows that what you are currently allowing on federal public lands will only exacerbate conditions in a grossly negative manner over time.
Arrogance is not the answer to those of us who choose to live in rural America. Decisive professionally founded action and leadership is what all of America needs. We need a new concept for managing our forests, one that is driven by a large landscape approach with a mosaic of age classes -- seral -- that will serve all species, and not the select few as mandated by the Endangered Species Act. Your current approach is endangering the very existence of national forests.
Check your compass, Mr. Secretary. We need new direction from your office for our public forests.