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Editorial: Norton leaves behind an unhappy legacy

"Like her mentor, James Watt, the maniacally anti-environmental interior secretary under Ronald Reagan, Gale Norton came to Washington convinced that the pendulum of public policy had swung too far in favor of the protection of America's natural resources at the expense of their commercial exploitation � especially by the oil, natural gas and mining industries.

In this she was little different from the other ideologues whom President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney picked to fill most of the administration's important environmental posts. But as the cheerful, upbeat face of a retrograde public policy, she may have been the most successful of them all.

The agency she leaves behind is not a particularly happy one. Many National Park Service employees oppose her rewrite of the service's management philosophy, a rewrite favoring recreational use over conservation. Biologists at the Fish and Wildlife Service have complained of political interference. Her emasculation of the mining laws pleased few outside the industry. The White House has hacked unmercifully at key departmental programs � including the vital Land and Water Conservation Fund, which Mr. Bush vowed to protect � without audible complaint from the secretary."

Get the Story:
Editorial: Gale Norton Resigns (The New York TImes 3/12)

Resignation Letter:
Norton to Bush (March 9, 2006)

News Release:
Secretary Norton Announces Departure from Interior (DOI 3/10)

Relevant Links:
Interior Department -

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