Wrong Man for the Job? Bush’s Interior Secretary nominee worries conservationists and sportsmen

Many sportsmen were not unhappy to see former Interior Secretary Gale Norton go. Some even hoped her replacement might be a little less eager to drill, mine, develop, and sell Federal lands. But with senate confirmation hearings for President Bush’s nominee (Idaho Governor Dirk Kempthorne) fast approaching, any such hopes may be mere wishful thinking.

According to this Florida Herald Tribune story, “As a US senator, Kempthorne twice voted for measures that would have opened the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling and voted against increasing funding for renewable energy research in 1994. On at least three occasions, he was a proponent of plans to sell off some of the same federal lands he will be entrusted with managing if confirmed as head of Interior.”

Floridians are especially concerned that Kempthorne will expand off-shore drilling in the once-off-limits eastern Gulf of Mexico.