Jim Lyons joined the Department of the Interior (DOI) in July, 2013 as Counselor to the Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management. In 2014, Jim became the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management where he focuses on issues associated with public lands management, energy, forestry, wildlife, and landscape-level conservation. Jim co-led the Department’s efforts to develop a strategy to conserve the Greater sage grouse, whose listing as threatened or endangered was determined to be “warranted but precluded” in 2010 by the US Fish and Wildlife Service. The range wide conservation strategy developed by Lyons led to a determination by the US Fish and Wildlife Service in September 2015, that listing of the grouse under the Endangered Species Act was no longer warranted.
In addition, at Interior Lyons is heavily involved in developing and implementing Secretary Jewell’s secretarial order on landscape-scale mitigation, which includes strategies to promote resource conservation and sustainable development and commercial-scale wind, solar and geothermal energy on public lands. Jim has also led efforts to develop new rules for planning the management of BLM-administered public lands under an initiative known as “Planning 2.0” and is part of the DOI team promoting the investment of private capital in conservation through establishment of the DOI Natural Resource Investment Center.
Lyons served as USDA Undersecretary for Natural Resources and Environment during the Clinton administration, where he played a key role in leading development of the Forest Service’s 2001 Roadless Rule, the 1994 Northwest Forest Plan, and in establishing new policies and programs for the conservation of public and private lands. Lyons led efforts to develop some of the first regional ecosystem assessments as a foundation for improving public land management across the West. He also advanced new rules for management of the national forests and worked with the EPA in developing President Clinton’s Clean Water Action plan which focused on strategies for dealing with the threat of non-point sources of pollution to America’s waterways.
Prior to joining the Clinton Administration, Lyons was a member of the senior staff of the Committee on Agriculture in the U.S. House of Representatives where he played a lead role in the development of the precedent-setting conservation and forestry titles of the 1990 Farm Bill. He also served as an advisor to then Congressman Leon Panetta.
Lyons, who holds a Master’s degree from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, is also a Lecturer and Research Scholar on the Yale faculty where he has taught since 2000.