(Host) The Senate Natural Resources Committee has approved Governor Jim Douglas’s choice for Forest, Parks and Recreation Commissioner. Jonathan Wood of Jeffersonville went before the committee on Wednesday for his confirmation interview. Wood is a forester whose last job was with a private timber company. He says he doesn’t plan any major changes at the department.
The committee wanted to know Wood’s view of the Champion lands issue. Last year, the Legislature spent weeks of debate on whether the state should have created a 10,000-acre core ecological reserve within the Champion lands. Wood says he believes the process was handled poorly, but that he doesn’t want to re-open the debate.
(Wood) “The core reserve system wasn’t aired in a public manner with an educational process. Boom, it all of a sudden happened. When you do that to people,e you’re going to get negative reactions. People have legitimate concerns about their livelihoods being restricted because of that. I see real, legitimate concerns on both sides of that issue. But I think the way things kind of fell out there’s no real, long-term public benefit to rehashing those issues in the Legislature.”
(Host) The committee approved Wood’s nomination 5-0. On Thursday, the committee will interview Jeffrey Wennberg, the governor’s nominee to head the Department of Environmental Conservation.