The Senate has confirmed Gale Norton as Interior Secretary. There is little to applaud in anticipation of Norton overseeing the management of our public lands.
If she carries out the misguided desires of Bush and follows the atrocious legacy of her mentor Watt, these majestic public assets will be jeopardized, effectively given away to private corporations for oil drilling, logging, and mining.
As the Washington Post reports:
As attorney general in Colorado and as a lawyer representing western business interests, Norton challenged such landmark environmental legislation as the Endangered Species Act, the Surface Mining and Reclamation Act and clean air legislation as unconstitutional. She also questioned the seriousness of global warming and once suggested that property owners had a "right to pollute."
Although reserves in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge would supply less than a year's worth of fuel, Norton has repeatedly gone on record, advocating opening up these pristine lands for drilling and exploration, a move that more than 60% of Americans oppose. (Poll conducted by the League of Conservation Voters Education Fund)
Overwhelming numbers of Americans say they do not want protections for America's last remaining treasured places rolled back. If anything, Norton should stand firm against the extreme wing of her party that wants to open up protected lands for industry.
Greenpeace calls on Norton to:
- not allow oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge;
- not challenge the new policy protecting nearly 60 million acres of roadless areas in our National Forest;
- not reverse any of the new National Monuments created by President Clinton;
- not lift the moratorium on oil drilling off the coasts of California and Florida; and
- protect public assets for the public, not for private corporations.