Master of Jurisprudence in Indian Law - University of Tulsa College of Law
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Opinion
Editorial: Norton was a 'terrible' Interior secretary


"Gale Norton was a terrible interior secretary because she did what President Bush wanted her to do.

Rather than protect public lands, she tried to open them to the oil, gas and mining industries. A protégé of the equally awful James Watt, who served under Ronald Reagan, Ms. Norton learned from her mentor. She spent five years turning the department's mission on its head by exploiting public lands for private profit. There isn't much good news coming out of the Bush administration these days, but Ms. Norton's resignation, which she announced Friday, will do for now.

Ironically, Ms. Norton didn't lose her job for doing it badly. Instead, she got caught in the Jack Abramoff net. The ex-lobbyist tried to influence Interior Department decisions through Stephen Griles, a former oil industry lobbyist and Ms. Norton's former deputy, and an agency she founded, Council of Republicans for Environmental Advocacy, a group promoting oil drilling in the Arctic refuge. Abramoff's Indian tribe clients donated $500,000 to the council, though Ms. Norton denied any influence."

Get the Story:
Editorial: Good riddance to Norton; take a different approach (The Palm Beach Post 3/15)

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

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

Relevant Links:
Interior Department - http://www.doi.gov

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