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EARTHWORKS statement regarding the resignation of Interior Secretary Gale Norton:

Gale Norton leaves a legacy of unprecedented kowtowing to extractive industries at the expense of the public interest. Among her actions on behalf of the mining industry she:

  • eviscerated environmental mining regulations that protected the public and public waters from destructive mining practices;
  • issued a legal opinion that effectively legalized unlimited toxic mine waste dumping on public lands;
  • set a horrible precedent in permitting a gold mine that will pollute surface and groundwater for tens of thousands of years.

“Gale Norton's report card for her tenure as Interior Secretary is as follows: F” said Lauren Pagel, Legislative Representative for EARTHWORKS. “And her so-called “Four 'Cs' were all about conspiring and colluding with campaign contributors — while excluding the public interest,” she continued.

“The resignation of Secretary Norton raises a question about the public-lands legacy of the Bush Administration,” said Stephen D'Esposito, president of EARTHWORKS. He continued, “with few exceptions Republicans and Democrats have added to that legacy through building and strengthening our National Park system, designating monuments, and protecting special places and ecosystems–and balancing conservation with responsible natural resource development. Perhaps the appointment of the next Interior Secretary should be made with this in mind.”