Center for Biological Diversity

Protecting endangered species and wild places through
science, policy, education, and environmental law.

Center for Biological Diversity applauds resignation
of Secretary of Interior Gale Norton

Controversial appointee exemplified revolving door between industry,
anti-environmental lobby groups, and Bush administration


Contact: Michael Finkelstein (520) 623-5252 x301,

Tucson, Ariz. - The Center for Biological Diversity applauds today’s announcement by presidential appointee Gale Norton that she is resigning as Secretary of Interior. Norton used her post as the nation’s top environment official to dismantle wildlife and wilderness protections; expand oil drilling, mining, and logging on public lands; and squash efforts by government scientists to establish rational environmental policy. Under her tenure, agency morale declined to an all-time low and millions of acres of land were forever scarred.

“It’s a good day for wildlife, wilderness and anyone who cares about America’s natural heritage,” said Michael Finkelstein, executive director of the Center for Biological Diversity.

Norton worked under James Watt in the Reagan Administration, left to work for the mining, oil, and timber industries, moved on to become a lobbyist for anti-environmental groups, then returned to government in the Bush administration. “Norton exemplifies the corruption-inducing revolving door between the Bush administration and industry,” said Finkelstein, “the fox wasn’t just guarding the henhouse, she burned it down.”

Norton’s resignation comes as law enforcement officials investigate whether top Interior official Steven Griles favored the clients of Jack Abramoff. Griles was a coal industry lobbyist elevated to one of the Interior Department’s top posts at the recommendation of Norton.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a nonprofit conservation organization with more than 18,000 members dedicated to protecting endangered species and wild places through science, policy, education, and environmental law.


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