Washington, D.C., January 12, 2001 – Secretary of the Interior-Designate Gale Norton faces an uphill confirmation fight. Ms. Norton’s history of pursuing innovative and market-based solutions to land management problems has raised the ire of some left-leaning environmental groups. Despite a track record of successful land conservation measures, her acknowledgement of the perverse incentives of many government regulations has put her beyond the pale of acceptability for interest groups that believe a heavy-handed bureaucracy is the only way to safeguard environmental quality.
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“Ms. Norton has overseen successes in hazardous waste cleanups, application of environmental audits, preservation of wilderness areas, and aggressive enforcement of environmental laws,” said Dr. David Riggs, CEI Director of Land and Natural Resource Policy. “At the same time she has encouraged business to work with the government of her home state of Colorado to achieve the highest levels of environmental quality with the smallest number of hours spent on paperwork and litigation.”
Critics of the last administration’s Western lands policies also hold out hope that Ms. Norton will be able to halt the alarming decline in forest health that has occurred on federal lands in recent years, leading most notable to the worst wildfires in a century last summer. Even the Department of Interior itself has lately been forced to acknowledge the embarrassing contrast between neglected, diseased, and fire-prone federal lands and the healthy and productive privately-owned tracts nearby.
“The nomination of Gale Norton offers the nation an opportunity to rethink and reformulate environmental policy,” continued Dr. Riggs. “The process of federal lands management has created more and more gridlock on public lands and trouble for private lands; a Secretary Norton will hopefully bring a sense of stewardship and a practical, result-oriented attitude toward protecting these resources.”
CEI, a non-profit, non-partisan public policy group founded in 1984, is dedicated to the principles of free enterprise and limited government. For more information, please contact Richard Morrison, associate director of media relations, at [email protected] or 202-331-1010, ext. 266.