Amodei said he told Zinke he “thinks the world” of former BLM Nevada Director John Ruhs, who was reassigned in February to the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho, where he is now BLM’s director of fire and aviation (Greenwire, Feb. 9).
Ruhs is widely credited with easing tensions between BLM and Western ranchers following the armed standoff with Nevadan Cliven Bundy and his family near Bunkerville, Nev., in 2014 (E&E News PM, March 31).
“Nevada has suffered through a decade of shit BLM leadership,” Amodei said on the tape, reading a text message he had sent Zinke. “To put a strong, successful leader in there for a net 18 months and then, for any reason, ship him, or let him leave to a position in Boise, is absolutely tone deaf.”
He later added that he texted Zinke: “Did I mention I had to hear the news on the street? Hope you guys aren’t paying anyone for congressional liaison.”
Amodei told the GOP dinner that Interior subsequently offered him “bullshit” legal provisions for why he wasn’t told Ruhs would be reassigned. He said he felt Zinke’s staff had essentially told him to “eat shit.”
But the Nevada lawmaker said he will also not fight Ruhs’ reassignment, pointing to an internal dispute at Interior between Ruhs and an unnamed official.
“While I think the world of Mr. Ruhs, I’m not going to try and get between him and your deputy guy, whatever is going on with those two,” Amodei said. “With all due respect … I’ve been to enough rodeos to sense an issue there and let’s just move on.”
An Interior spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Jason Briefel, executive director of the Senior Executives Association, said the story about Ruhs’ reassignment is “the perfect example of why agencies need good leadership succession plans.”
Briefel added that “if the congressman felt assured that BLM had a plan in place to replace Mr. Ruhs with an equally competent and effective successor, I would imagine his frustration with losing a respected career leader to another role within the agency might have been mitigated.”
In a subsequent interview with the Reno newspaper, Amodei also lamented the lack of communication over Zinke’s pending reorganization of the Interior Department.
Asked whether he was on good terms with Zinke, Amodei told the newspaper: “You’d have to ask him.”
In his remarks on the tape, Amodei noted that he plans to focus on the “command suite” at Interior and not the still-vacant BLM director’s office.
Note: The move of Ruhs was no secret. WHE knew of it two months ago. The last three years have been an extremely stressful time on NV public lands. Wild horses are public land management. It is not supposed to feel like a crazy episode of “Game of Thrones.”
Ruhs only “eased tensions” with one faction. He increased tension (and threats) to everyone else. You can read more in “A Rock and a hard place (FOIA, RAC and litigation) https://wildhorseeducation.org/2017/05/25/posttruth-3-a-rock-and-a-hard-place-foia-rac-and-litigation/
Please keep trying to understand what WHE is doing. WE need YOUR support and protection. Wild Horse Org pushes for Investigation into Triple B. https://wildhorseeducation.org/2018/02/21/wild-horse-organization-pushes-for-investigation-into-triple-b/
Please read our series on the public land seizure movement to understand more: https://wildhorseeducation.org/wild-wild-horses-and-the-public-land-seizure-movement/
Categories: Wild Horse Education