A publication providing succinct biographical sketches of environmental scientists, economists, "experts," and activists released by The National Center for Public Policy Research.



Environmental Scientist: Jack Ward Thomas

Jack Ward Thomas, President Clinton's U.S. Forest Service Chief, is a wildlife biologist from Oregon and a 30-year veteran of the Forest Service, having served in a variety of capacities (including as chief research wildlife biologist) before taking over as head of the agency in December 1993. Thomas is perhaps best known for his leadership of the congressional panel that recommended limiting timber harvests in national forests in the Pacific Northwest to no more than 1.7 billion board feet of timber per year-- a more than 50% cut over the levels permitted during the 1980s -- to ensure the survival of 3,000 northern spotted owl pairs. That same year, federal judge William Dwyer banned most logging on National Forest land in Washington and Oregon to preserved 3,000 pair, dealing a fatal blow to many small timber companies in the region. Thomas's appointment was hailed by environmental groups and condemned by property rights and wise use organizations.

Selected Thomas Quotes

Jack Ward Thomas showing his preference for wildlife over people...

"I don't agree with ... [weighing economic as well as biological factors in endangered species listings]. If you do that, you would simply never list anything." -Jack Ward Thomas quoted in the Rocky Mountain News, December 28, 1993

Jack Ward Thomas demonstrating why a science background does not qualify one to serve as Forest Service Chief...

"In two recent situations, we have responded to requests for information from Congress by asking a single staff group to prepare the information. These incidents have been identified as the personifications of 'linear' as opposed to 'horizontal' behavior in the organization. A previous set of operative language would have contrasted this as 'functional' as opposed to 'corporate' behavior. Please be sensitive to these perceptions -- which do have merit -- in assigning or responding to such requests for information." -Jack Ward Thomas in a March 6, 1996 memorandum to Forest Service staff as quoted in The Washington Post, March 7, 1996

Jack Ward Thomas calling one of his crowning achievements --"blather"...

"If we weren't blathering about old growth and owls, [the threat to ecosystems in east-side Oregon forests] would be the hottest story in forestry." -Jack Ward Thomas, quoted in The Washington Post, May 15, 1992

Jack Ward Thomas describing his own rather unique version of an open door policy...

"If they [the wise use movement] get written off, it will be because they write them off themselves. I'm open to all the people of the United States." -Jack Ward Thomas quoted in The Washington Post, December 28, 1993

Jack Ward Thomas on why facts don't matter...

"It may well be that there are a significant number of northern spotted owl on private lands in California, but so what? The injunction [against logging] controls the issue now." -Jack Ward Thomas quoted by Greg Easterbrook in The New Republic, March 28, 1994

Version Date: March 11, 1996


The Environmental Policy Task Force is a project of:

The National Center for Public Policy Research
National Center E-Mail: [email protected]
Environmental Policy Task Force E-Mail: [email protected]

Return to the Home Page   Return to the Dossier Index
Go to the Environmental Policy Task Force Home Page   Go to the Earth Day Information Center Home Page
Go to the Global Warming Information Center Home Page