Another enviro law prof in the administration

It’s a time for catching up, so here’s an appointment I’m embarrassed to admit I missed when it was announced. Marcilynn Burke has taken a leave from the University of Houston Law Center to become Deputy Director (Programs and Policy) of the Bureau of Land Management. This is a terrific appointment. The BLM is the nation’s largest land manager, but its more than 250 million acres, lacking the charisma of the national parks or the national forest system, have too often been treated as afterthoughts. In the Obama Administration, the BLM lands are taking center stage for their potential to provide renewable energy. Of course renewable energy is crticially needed, but its development entails environmental trade-offs that should not be swept under the rug. Under the leadership of Burke, a thoughtful and pragmatic scholar whose expertise ranges from local land use to national environmental policy, BLM will surely take those trade-offs seriously, and seek to produce both energy and healthy ecosystems on its lands.

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