Strong public opposition to the appointment of political crony Ron Nehring to the state Board of Forestry apparently was the key to the recent sidelining of his final bid for confirmation to the post.

“The many Forests Forever supporters who responded to our emails and web alerts in recent months and wrote a letter against the Nehring appointment should give themselves a big hug,” said Paul Hughes, executive director of Forests Forever. “Clearly the Rules Committee got the message and weren’t backing Nehring by decision time.

“It’s pretty clear the governor got it too.”

Appointed to the board on July 12, 2005, by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Nehring served over the last year, but his seat on the board was contingent on his confirmation by the state Senate Rules Committee within a year of the original appointment.

The last Rules Committee hearing before July 12, 2006 has come and gone. Confirmation of the Nehring appointment was not on the agenda. Thus the seat became vacant after July 12.

A GOP political activist since college, Nehring is the vice-chairman of the California Republican Party. He was a senior consultant for Americans for Tax Reform, the far-right group founded by anti-tax activist Grover Norquist. Nehring also was director of development and public affairs for the National Center for Public Policy Research, a conservative think tank that, among its many causes, argues against taking action to stop global warming and against preserving roadless forests.

Nehring lacks any actual forestry experience– a desirable qualification for a seat on the board. His only forestry-related experience occurred in 2003 when his house came close to burning down in a forest fire.

The nine-member Board of Forestry is appointed by the governor and is supposed to represent a range of interests. Nehring’s appointment would have tipped the balance of the board yet further in favor of industry and away from sound conservation practices and citizen participation.

Appointment of a partisan ideologue like Nehring to the board might have pleased some in the timber industry. But it was an odd appointment for a governor who prides himself on his environmental conscience. Perhaps the governor’s next appointment will be better suited to the job.


Write to the governor and thank him for not pushing for Nehring’s confirmation. Let him know that his next appointee should be a genuine citizen’s representative with experience in forestry issues, not a partisan political operative with no relevant experience.

Write to:

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger
State Capitol Building
Sacramento, CA 95814
Fax: 916-445-4633
Email: governor@governor.ca.gov


Forests Forever:
Their Ecology, Restoration, and Protection
John J. Berger

from Forests Forever Foundation
and the Center for American Places