Jim Caswell, who has just been named to run the national Bureau of Land Management, has this by way of a mark in his favor: His run in Idaho since 2001 as head of the bureau that manages endangered species policy has been remarkably uncontentious.
This is after all an office that seems far more likely to internally combust, than not. And it hasn't; it has generated relatively few headlines, in fact, other than when some major issue, such as wolf or grizzly bear location, is foisted on it.
Then too, we only know so much about the operations of the office - since it has been off the radar more than on. So what should we make of some of Caswell's first quotes after announcement of his BLM selection?
To the Associated Press, on the subject of developing national lands for timber cutting, oil and gas development, and so on: "We just have to develop the resources that we have. You can't just write this stuff off. It's a terribly important activity for the good of the country . . . But I also don't believe that every tree ought to go to the mill. So much of it becomes site specific. But if the objective is to develop a resource, most of the time I think we can find a way to solve the problems surrounding it."
As long as it's not every tree.
A man speaking casually; bearing his soul; a hint of the real him; saying what his new employer likes said; or something else? As he moves toward Senate confirmation, he will be talking a great deal more, and we may get a better fix on him than we have now.