Tim Salt, a 27-year veteran of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, has been reassigned from his key post refereeing land-use disputes in the California desert, in a move environmentalists say is a capitulation to miners, ranchers, and off-road vehicle enthusiasts. As manager of the BLM’s 11 million-acre California Desert District, Salt drew the ire of all of those constituents by dramatically restricting land use to protect Peirson’s milk vetch (a desert plant), bighorn sheep, the desert tortoise, and other wildlife. Although environmentalists sometimes felt Salt didn’t go far enough, most were unhappy with the shuffle: Karen Schambach, California coordinator for the group Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, called it consistent with “a definite pattern by this administration to reassign administrators who have an environmental ethic.”

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