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NRDC Opposes Bush Appointment for Interior Secretary

WASHINGTON (December 29, 2000) - The Natural Resources Defense Council believes that the appointment of Gale Norton as interior secretary is a slap in the face to the great majority of Americans who, time and time again, have said they want our parks and public lands protected from exploitation by well-financed, politically connected oil companies. NRDC strenuously opposes her appointment.

Mr. Bush has proposed someone to head the Interior Department who, like her mentor James Watt, believes in a "fox-in-the-hen house" approach to protection of public land. This appointment shows just how out of touch Mr. Bush is when it comes to Americans' love of their natural heritage.

As a lawyer at the Interior Department in the mid-1980s, Norton attempted to open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to development. The refuge is our nation's last truly unspoiled wilderness. We are certain that she'll try again.

The secretary of the interior should be an advocate for protecting public resources. Her record, sadly, is the opposite. Her belief that industry should be allowed to regulate itself, we fear, will give a green light to those who would misuse what doesn't belong to them -- our public lands that should be held in trust for our children.

NRDC urges Congress to say no to Gale Norton and will do what it can to derail this appointment.

The Natural Resources Defense Council is a national, nonprofit organization of scientists, lawyers and environmental specialists dedicated to protecting public health and the environment. Founded in 1970, NRDC has more than 400,000 members nationwide, served from offices in New York, Washington, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

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