U.S. Interior Secretary Gale Norton
Ties to Abramoff Indian Deals
WASHINGTON — Interior Secretary Gale Norton resigned today after five years in President Bush's Cabinet and at a time when her agency is part of a lobbying scandal over Indian gaming licenses.
In a letter to Bush, Norton said she the resignation would be effective at the end of March.
"Now I feel it is time for me to leave this mountain you gave me to climb, catch my breath, then set my sights on new goals to achieve in the private sector," she said in the two-page resignation letter.
Norton, who turns 52 on Saturday, said she and her husband "hope to end up closer to the mountains we love in the West."
A former Colorado attorney general, Norton guided the Bush administration's initiative to open Western government lands to more oil and gas drilling.
As one of the architects of Bush's energy policy, she eased regulations to speed approval of drilling permits, particularly in New Mexico, Colorado and Wyoming's Powder River Basin.
She also was the administration's biggest advocate for opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge on Alaska's North Slope to oil drilling.
source: http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-031006norton_wr,0,2270046,print.story?coll=la-home-headlines 10mar2006
Interior Secretary Gale Norton Steps Down
WASHINGTON — U.S. Interior Secretary Gale Norton said on Friday she was stepping down after serving five years overseeing federal lands, in a tenure in which she often clashed with environmentalists.
In her resignation letter, a portion of which was released to the news media, Norton said she would be moving to the private sector at the end of March.
The Interior Department manages national parks, wildlife refuges and other federal lands, which make up a fifth of the acreage in the United States.
She is the first woman to head the 156-year-old department and one of the original members of Bush's Cabinet.
Her departure comes as Congress is looking into leases that the Interior Department issued in the late 1990s to energy companies that will allow them to avoid paying billions of dollars in royalties for oil and natural gas drilled in the Gulf of Mexico.
Norton did not head the department at the time the leases were awarded during the administration of former President Bill Clinton. But the special royalty break given the firms came to light this year.
source: http://today.reuters.com/news/newsArticle.aspx?type=politicsNews&storyID=2006-03-10T183828Z_01_WBT004950_RTRUKOC_0_US-BUSH-NORTON.xml 10mar2006
Interior Secretary Norton to resign from Bush Cabinet, official says
JOHN HEILPRIN / AP 10mar2006
WASHINGTON -- Interior Secretary Gale Norton is resigning after five years in President Bush's Cabinet, The Associated Press has learned.
Norton, a former Colorado attorney general who guided the Bush administration's initiative to open Western government lands to more oil and gas drilling, planned to announce her decision Friday, a senior government official and another source familiar with her decision told the AP.
Both spoke on condition of anonymity, saying they did not want to upstage an announcement from the White House.
Norton told associates she wanted to return to private life in Colorado, the source said.
One of the architects of Bush's energy policy, Norton eased regulations to speed approval of drilling permits, particularly in New Mexico, Colorado and Wyoming's Powder River Basin. She also was the administration's biggest advocate for opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge on Alaska's North Slope to oil drilling.
Norton, who turns 52 on Saturday, is the first woman ever to head the Interior Department.
Before joining the administration, she was one of the negotiators of a $206 billion national tobacco settlement in a suit by Colorado and 45 other states. She was Colorado's attorney general from 1991 to 1999.
source: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/chi-060310interior-story,1,773039.story?coll=chi-news-hed 10mar2006
Interior Secretary to resign;
Ties to Abramoff Indian deals
Raw Story 10mar2006
Interior Secretary Gale Norton will resign today, the Associated Press has confirmed. Norton, photographed at left with fallen conservative lobbyist Jack Abramoff, was fingered in deals with Native American tribes that Abramoff represented. The photograph at left was released in response to a Freedom of Information Act request.
Advertisement Abramoff's tribal clients donated $50,000 to a conservative environmental group founded by Norton, hoping to win face time with the Secretary. They eventually did.
Former DeLay deputy chief of staff Tony Rudy helped Abramoff arrange a meeting with Norton, and within months, the lobbyist's clients were making huge contributions to the environmental group Norton started, the Council of Republicans for Environmental Advocacy.
“Do you think you could call that friend and set up a meeting?” then-DeLay staffer Tony Rudy asked fellow House aide Thomas Pyle in a Dec. 29, 2000, e-mail obtained by the Associated Press titled “Gale Norton-Interior Secretary.” President Bush had nominated Norton to his cabinet the day before.
More from AP:
"Rudy wrote Abramoff that same day promising he had “good news” about securing a meeting with Norton, forwarding information about the environmental group Norton had founded, according to e-mails obtained by investigators and reviewed by The Associated Press. Rudy’s message to Abramoff was sent from Congress’ official e-mail system.
"Within months, Abramoff clients donated heavily to the Norton-founded group and to DeLay’s personal charity. The Coushatta Indian tribe, for instance, wrote checks in March 2001 for $50,000 to the Norton group and $10,000 to the DeLay Foundation, tribal records show.
"The lobbyist and the Coushattas eventually won face-to-face time with the secretary during a Sept. 24, 2001, dinner sponsored by the group she had founded.
"Abramoff’s clients were trying to stop a rival Indian tribe from winning Interior Department approval to build a casino."
source: http://rawstory.com/admin/dbscripts/printstory.php?story=2049 10mar2006
Gale Norton Biography
Dept of Interior website 10mar2006
Gale Norton, a lifelong conservationist, public servant and advocate for bringing common sense solutions to environmental policy, was sworn in as the 48th Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior in January 2001. The first woman to head the 156-year-old department, Norton has made what she calls the Four C's the cornerstone of her tenure: Communication, Consultation, and Cooperation, all in the service of Conservation. At the heart of the Four C's is the belief that for conservation to be successful, the government must involve the people who live and work on the land.
To implement the Four C's approach, Norton has reached out to states, tribes, local communities, businesses, conservation organizations, and private citizens in a variety of ways, including:
- New Landowner Incentive and Private Stewardship Grant programs, providing cost-share grants to states and landowners for wildlife conservation;
- The Cooperative Conservation Initiative, a proposal for cost-share grants to empower states and local landowners to engage in conservation projects on public and private lands;
- Strong support of the bipartisan plan to restore the Florida Everglades;
Reduction of long-standing maintenance backlogs on the National Park Service and the National Wildlife Refuge System, including a proposed record budget increase for the refuge system;
- Support for environmentally sensitive energy production on public lands, including renewable sources such as geothermal, wind, biomass and solar.
Norton has made building cooperation and consensus the focus of her nearly 27-year career. From 1991 to 1999, she served as Attorney General of Colorado. In that capacity, she represented virtually every agency of the Colorado state government. She argued cases before the U.S. Supreme Court and other appellate courts and testified numerous times before congressional committees. As a negotiator of the $206 billion national tobacco settlement, Norton represented Colorado and 45 other states as part of the largest lawsuit settlement in history.
Prior to her election as Attorney General, Norton served in Washington, D.C. as Associate Solicitor of the U.S. Department of the Interior, overseeing endangered species and public lands legal issues for the National Park Service and the Fish and Wildlife Service. She also worked as Assistant to the Deputy Secretary of Agriculture and, from 1979 to 1983, as a Senior Attorney for the Mountain States Legal Foundation.
Norton graduated magna cum laude from the University of Denver in 1975 and earned her law degree with honors from the same university in 1978. Before becoming Interior Secretary, Norton was senior counsel at Brownstein, Hyatt & Farber, P.C. She and her husband, John Hughes, are avid hikers and outdoor enthusiasts. They reside near Washington, D.C.
source: http://www.doi.gov/secretary/biography.html 10mar2006
Past Secretaries of Interior
The Department of the Interior has been led by 48 Secretaries of Interior in its 154 years.
- Thomas Ewing 1849-1850
- Thomas M.T. McKennan 1850
- Alexander H.H. Stuart 1850-1853
- Robert McClelland 1853-1857
- Jacob Thompson 1857-1861
- Caleb B. Smith 1861-1862
- John P. Usher 1863-1865
- James Harlan 1865-1866
- Orville H. Browning 1866-1869
- Jacob D. Cox 1869-1870
- Columbus Delano 1870-1875
- Zachariah Chandler 1875-1877
- Carl Schurz 1877-1881
- Samuel J. Kirkwood 1881-1882
- Henry M. Teller 1882-1885
- Lucius Q.C. Lamar 1885-1888
- William F. Vilas 1888-1889
- John W. Noble 1889-1893
- Michael H. Smith 1893-1896
- David R. Francis 1896-1897
- Cornelius N. Bliss 1897-1899
- Ethan A. Hitchcock 1899-1907
- James R. Garfield 1907-1909
- Richard A. Ballinger 1909-1911
- Walter L. Fisher 1911-1913
- Franklin K. Lane 1913-1920
- John B. Payne 1920 -1921
- Albert B. Fall 1921-1923
- Hubert Work 1923-1928
- Roy O. West 1928-1929
- Ray L. Wilbur 1929-1933
- Harold L. Ickes 1933-1946
- Julius A. Krug 1946-1949
- Oscar L. Chapman 1949-1953
- Douglas McKay 1953-1956
- Fred A. Seaton 1956-1961
- Stewart L. Udall 1961-1969
- Walter Hickel 1969-1970
- Rogers C. B. Morton 1971-1975
- Stanley K. Hathaway 1975
- Thomas S. Kleppe 1975-1977
- Cecil B. Andrus 1977-1981
- James G. Watt 1981-1983
- William P. Clark 1983-1985
- Donald P. Hodel 1985-1989
- Manuel Lujan, Jr. 1989-1993
- Bruce Babbitt 1993-2001
- Gale A. Norton 2001
source: http://www.doi.gov/past_secretaries.html 10mar2006