Gale Norton in Pants

That’s how the NRDC characterizes Dubya & co.’s new Interior Secretary Nominee, Idaho Governor Dirk Kempthorne. Other mainline environmental organizations are sounding similar notes: the League of Conservation voters notes his 1% lifetime score by their criteria, and the Sierra Club calls his nomination “a continuation of the same anti-environmental polices that we have seen for the last five years.” Must be just a kneejerk reaction against the Bush administration, right? Or, it could be Governor Kempthorne’s history of

  • Supporting drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
  • Opposing the protection of 60 million acres of wild forests
  • Working to weaken the Endangered Species Act and Safe Drinking Water Act

As Senator and Governor, Kempthorne has proved hostile to a variety of environmental issues…. Notably, as Senator Kempthorne co-sponsored a bill to take polluters off the hook for millions of tons of lead, zinc and other toxic metals into the Coeur D’Alene River Basin-instead leaving taxpayers with the clean-up bill.

I don’t suppose we could’ve expected any better, and I don’t think Kempthorne will likely face any major opposition. Still, we ought to speak out on this: Environmental Action has created an action alert with letter to send to your Senators. I suppose there’s the slight chance that Republicans in Congress could use Kempthorne’s nomination as another venue for distancing themselves from the President — I’m not counting on it, though.

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