Norton Nomination Meets Opposition

January 16, 2001

As the Inauguration of George Bush nears, some his nominees are facing opposition from civil rights, consumer, andenvironmental groups. In particular, Gale Norton, nominated to head the Department of Interior, has drawn fire fromenvironmental groups. They charge that she plotted to undo the Endangered Species Act, open the Alaska WildlifeRefuge to oil drilling, abetted strip mining in the Rocky Mountains and undermined wetlands protection.

Civil rights groups are concerned about a 1996 speech, in which Norton said that states’ rights were diminished by thedefeat of the Confederacy in the Civil War.

As attorney general of Colorado, she was against affirmative action and for the death penalty.

She has also come up against the very department she is slated to head. Norton is affiliated with groups that havefiled three lawsuits against Interior Department policy, including one taking issue with a rule protecting endangeredbald eagles. Norton was a member of the board of the Defenders of Property Rights, the main litigant.

She was also chief lobbyist for NL Industries, a paint company that is being sued around the country by peoplecharging that their children were poisoned by lead paint.

Hearings on her nomination are scheduled for Thursday.

We are joined by Doug Vaughan, an investigator and journalist who lives in Colorado and has been following Norton’scareer for years.


  • Doug Vaughan, investigator and journalist who lives in Colorado has been following Norton’s career foryears.