News Release

Interviews Available on Norton


Director of Public Citizen’s Critical Mass Energy and Environment Program, Hauter said today: “Americans are proud of the progress made over the past three decades to clean up our environment. George W. Bush’s nomination of Gale Norton for Secretary of the Interior would turn back the clock…. For instance, she was a strong advocate of Colorado’s ‘self-audit’ law, which allows corporations to perform voluntary audits to determine if they are complying with federal environmental regulations. This law also gives companies immunity from fines and lawsuits if they report and correct violations. To Coloradans who fished in the Alamosa River, it is clear that this sort of fox-guarding-the-henhouse strategy for protecting the environment does not — and simply cannot — work.”

Other highlights of Norton’s career include:

  • a stint lobbying on behalf of NL Industries of Houston (formerly National Lead Co.), a lead paint manufacturer responsible for 75 Superfund and other toxic-waste sites, which faces a dozen lawsuits involving children whose parents say they were poisoned by lead paint;
  • four years of working under former Interior Secretary James Watt at the Mountain States Legal Foundation “wise use” group that files “takings” lawsuits sponsored by corporate donors, including Coors;
  • as a lawyer in the Reagan administration’s Interior Department from 1985-87, she unsuccessfully fought to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for oil drilling.
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    Executive director of Greenpeace USA, Passacantando said today: “America’s unique legacy of protecting public lands for the enjoyment of all Americans is under assault if cabinet nominee Gale Norton continues her historically anti-environmental views as Secretary of the Interior. Norton’s record is anti-people — and for big corporations. If Norton carries out the kind of anti-public lands agenda her long record suggests, then George W. Bush will be supporting huge giveaways of public assets to private corporations for oil drilling, logging and mining. There is simply no support for such efforts, and, in fact, there is great support, even among Bush voters, for public lands protection. Americans in overwhelming numbers have said they do not want a rollback of protections for our last remaining treasured places. If confirmed, Norton must stand firm against the extreme wing of her party that wants to open up protected lands for exploitation by industry. Because of her close association with the ‘Wise Use’ movement and her historic support of extreme ‘property rights’ causes, the Senate has a responsibility to closely scrutinize Ms. Norton’s ability to safeguard our national treasures.”
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    For further information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
    Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; David Zupan, (541) 484-9167