Sherman mentioned for USDA post, but roadless rule could be roadblock

Harris Sherman, director of Colorado’s Department of Natural Resources, is being floated as a possible candidate for a Department of Agriculture undersecretary post that oversees the U.S. Forest Service and the Natural Resources and Conservation Service.

But environmental groups are already casting doubt on the possible pick, questioning Sherman’s role in moving Colorado’s controversial roadless rule forward.

One of only two states to petition for its own roadless rule after the Bush administration set aside the overarching Clinton administration roadless rule in 2001, Colorado’s plan for managing 4.4 million acres of federal roadless lands is viewed by some environmentalists as containing too many road-building exceptions for oil and gas production and logging.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack late last month issued a memorandum suspending all road building on more than 58 million acres of roadless federal lands around the country, meaning any exceptions would have to be approved by the USDA and whoever lands the undersecretary post.

Sherman is in the running because Mississippi state conservationist Homer Lee Wilkes pulled his name from consideration for family reasons.

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