President Trump’s pick to oversee the Forest Service went before a Senate committee Tuesday.
If he’s confirmed, James Hubbard will be in charge of timber resources, wilderness areas and campgrounds across our region as under secretary of natural resources and the environment for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. But he’ll also head up an agency that’s grappling with discrimination and sexual harassment claims.
Since 2016, dozens of Forest Service employees have come forward to talk about being verbally or physically harassed by coworkers or managers.
Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow pressed Hubbard on how he would deal with the problem.
"The Forest Service must do a better job of establishing a culture where sexual misconduct is not tolerated—where accusations are investigated thoroughly and properly and where offenders are held accountable," Stabenow says.
Hubbard said the agency has made progress, but that he wants to make sure it sticks.
"It would be my first briefing to find out where they are," says Hubbard. "Harassment has no place, anywhere."
Committee members are expected to vote on Hubbard’s nomination this week. He’ll then go before the full senate for confirmation.
Find reporter Amanda Peacher on Twitter @amandapeacher.
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This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, Yellowstone Public Radio in Montana, KUER in Salt Lake City and KRCC and KUNC in Colorado.