23 Apr 2009, 12:09am
Federal forest policy Politics and politicians
by admin

Jay Jensen Named Deputy Under Secretary For USFS

The Executive Director of the Western Forestry Leadership Coalition, Jay Jensen has been selected by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack for the position of Deputy Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment (NRE).

From the USDA News Room [here]:

WASHINGTON, April 22, 2009 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the appointment of Jay Jensen as USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment (NRE). In this position, Jensen will have responsibility for the U.S. Forest Service (FS), which manages 193 million acres of National Forest System lands and provides assistance to the more than 10 million family-forest landowners in this country.

The NRE mission area includes the FS and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). NRCS is the federal agency with primary responsibility for working with private landowners in conserving, maintaining and improving their natural resources.

“Jay Jensen brings the combination of on-the-ground and government experience that we need in this role,” said Vilsack. “He is a forester and wildland firefighter with an extensive background in policy, management, and legislation. I’ll be looking to Jay’s leadership as we address the health of our forests. This is a top priority for USDA because it relates to several critical challenges—the intensity of forest fires, climate change, biomass and renewable energy, clean water and revitalizing forest-dependent communities.”

Since May 2005, Jensen has been Executive Director of the Council of Western State Foresters/Western Forestry Leadership Coalition. The Coalition is a federal-state governmental partnership. Jensen had served earlier as the Coalition’s Government Affairs Director.

He has also served as Senior Forestry Advisor for the Western Governors Association, where he was responsible for the biomass energy program. Before that, as lead forestry advisor for the U.S. House Committee on Agriculture, Jensen helped develop programs under the 2002 Farm Bill. He has also served as lead policy analyst for the National Association of State Foresters.

Jensen holds a B.S. degree from the University of California at Los Angeles and an M.S. in Forestry from Colorado State University.

A southern California native, Jensen will be moving to the D.C. area with his wife Shawna Friedman and their young daughter Kayden.

23 Apr 2009, 9:22pm
by Mike De L.

This appointment was discussed at a meeting that I attended today. You may have the facts incorrect.

Mark Rey was Undersecretary while David Tenney was the Deputy Undersecretary. As I heard this announcement Jay Jensen replaces the latter. We are still awaiting appointment of Undersecretary.

[Here] is clip from a story, “U.S. Department of Agriculture Deputy Undersecretary David P. Tenny” from High Country News.

23 Apr 2009, 9:40pm
by Mike

Thanks, Mike, for pointing out the “Deputy” part. You are correct that Rey’s bureaucratic successor has not been named as yet. I edited his name out.

26 Apr 2009, 7:19am
by NED

I have to wonder why the Deputy was named first. Normally, the Under Secretary would be allowed to name his own Deputy. Something strange is going on. We will probably understand it when the Under Secretary is named.

26 Apr 2009, 12:01pm
by admin

Ned, you bring up an important point. One effect, that I surmise, is that Jay Jensen will have some degree of autonomy no matter who is named Under Secretary.

Jensen brings a great deal of experience, much of which revolves around fire. The Council of Western State Foresters/Western Forestry Leadership Coalition has always had wildfire, suppression, and wildfire damages as paramount concerns.

Most recently the WSF/WFLC issued a ground-breaking report, The True Cost of Wildfire in the Western U.S. [here] .

Jensen might have more influence over fire issues than whomever is named Under Secretary. That might turn out to be a good thing.



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