NRDC Will Hold Interior Secretary Gale Norton to Her Word

Group vows to take all actions necessary to protect U.S. environment

Statement by NRDC Program Director Gregory Wetstone on confirmation of Gail Norton

WASHINGTON (January 30, 2001) - "The Senate’s confirmation of Gale Norton today marks the beginning, not the end, of the battle to protect threatened American parks, forests and wildlife from a new set of destructive assaults by oil, mining and logging companies.

"The Natural Resources Defense Council calls on those senators who were willing to look beyond Ms. Norton’s abysmal record, accepting at face value the assurances she gave in her confirmation hearings, to be especially vigilant in holding her to the letter and spirit of her commitments. NRDC will launch a major effort to track any attempt by Ms. Norton to weaken environmental programs, mobilize our more than 400,000 members and the American public to oppose any rollbacks, and, if necessary, go to court to ensure the integrity of our landmark environmental laws.

"While only 12 senators opposed Ms. Norton’s infamous mentor, James Watt, 24 Senators opposed Ms. Norton. By shining a spotlight on her extreme record, and prompting her to make vague but reassuring commitments during her Senate hearings, the environmental community has laid the foundation for scrutinizing her stewardship at the Interior Department."