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Mark Rey, Green Lobbyist?

Thanks to an email from my old friend George Alderson, I nearly dropped my teeth the other day.

You may remember. In the gallery of baddies service in the G.W. Bush administration, the one most reviled by the environmental movement—or certainly one of the most reviled—was Mark Rey, Under Secretary of the Department of Agricuture, whose main job was to oversee the Forest Service. In that role, Mr. Rey guided the administration's efforts to thwart the Roadless Area Conservation Rule, a rule put in place at the end of the Clinton administration to protect nearly 60 million acres of near-wilderness quality lands on the national forests.

Well, it turns out that Mr. Rey has been lobbying on behalf of the Idaho Conservation League, Trout Unlimited, and Wildlaw, the latter being a pro-wilderness organization headquartered in Alabama.

Mr. Rey's duties seem to focus on keeping certain national forest lands closed to off-road vehicles.

This we learn from a group I'd never heard of, something called the Trail Party and if that reminds you of the Tea Party, it's supposed to. The Trail Party was created for the last election by a chap called Don Amador, who has been a pro-ORV activist for years, mostly through the Blue Ribbon Coalition, a rabid fan of Jeeps, snowmobiles, dirt bikes, and other motorized conveyances that too often tear up the countryside in pursuit of manly (and, increasingly, womanly) thrills.

Not coincidentally, all three organizations had representatives on Mr. Rey's Roadless Area Advisory Committee, which labored long and hard to try to put together a rational roadless policy once Mr. Rey had tried to replace the Clinton Roadless Rule with a voluntary state-option rule.

(Plug: You can read the whole tangled story in Roadless Rules, The Battle for the Last Wild Forests, Island Press 2009.)

I have not yet been able to find out exactly whom Mr. Rey has been lobbying, and how successful he's been. It does strike one as a bit mercenary, but that's how it works, I guess. Mr. Amador, as you might surmise, is not pleased with this development, headlining his report, “GOP Lobbyists Go Green for 30 Pieces of Silver.”

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