Saturday, February 23, 2008

Mark Rey Hopes to Stay Out of Prison on Tuesday

The Associated Press and The Oregonian both have interesting stories about Mark Rey, the Undersecretary of Agriculture, and how there is a chance he could be sentenced to prison for charges that he violated the law regarding the use of aerial fire retardant.

Here is an excerpt from The Oregonian:
"An irritated federal judge in Montana appears ready to go along with the request by Forest Service Employees for Environmental Ethics, based in Eugene, to hold the Bush official who oversees the Forest Service in contempt of court for disobeying his orders.
The judge, Donald Molloy of Missoula, has said that at a hearing Tuesday, he could either jail Mark Rey, the undersecretary of Agriculture, place him under house arrest or suspend all use of fire retardant - the red slurry dropped to slow wildfires."
The Associated Press had this to say, in part:
"WASHINGTON (AP) — He overhauled federal forest policy to cut more trees — and became a lightning rod for environmentalists who say he is intent on logging every tree in his reach.

After nearly seven years in office, Agriculture Undersecretary Mark Rey still has a long to-do list. Near the top: Persuade a federal judge to keep him out of jail.

Rey, a former timber industry lobbyist who has directed U.S. forest policy since 2001, also wants to set up state rules making it easier to build roads in remote national forests and restore overgrown, unhealthy forests by clearing them of small trees and debris that can stoke wildfires. And he wants to streamline cumbersome regulations that can paralyze actions on public lands.

A Montana judge, accusing Rey of deliberately skirting the law so the Forest Service can keep fighting wildfires with a flame retardant that kills fish, has threatened to put him behind bars.

For Rey, who faces a court date Tuesday, the prospect of jail time is daunting. But it's just one more obstacle as he attempts to rid federal policies of pesky paperwork and endless litigation that slows forest managers from cutting down trees."

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