Indian Country: Norton's nomination may spell trouble
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Norton's nomination may spell trouble
DECEMBER 29, 2000
Her defense of property-rights and ties to property-rights groups,
though, may place her at odds with Indian Country. Property-rights
proponents are typically at odds with the federal government over
environmental policy, particularly in the West, where tribal holdings are
vast and tribal interest in ceded and non-ceded lands, as well as fishing
and hunting rights, often places tribes in the middle of the debate.
Along with fellow Republicans, Norton formed the Coalition of Republican
Environmental Activists (CREA) in 1998, aimed at improving the
anti-green image of the GOP. "We support market-oriented, property
rights-based, locally controlled solutions," said Norton at the time, the
group's first chair.
The group received the backing of conservatives like Trent Lott, Newt
Gingrich, and outgoing GOP chairman Jim Nicholson. But it was criticized
by moderate Republicans because many of its members had poor
environmental scorecards with groups such as the League of
Conservation Voters. One member, Representative Helen Chenoweth of
Idaho, once questioned why endangered salmon had to be protected
because it could be bought at supermarkets.
Similarly, her connections with James Watt, former Secretary of Interior
under President Ronald Reagan, and Anne Gorsuch, Reagan's first
Environmental Protection Agency administrator, has raised red flags for
environmental organizations like the Environmental Working Group and
The Center for Public Integrity. All three were staff members of the
Mountain States Legal Foundation, a Colorado-based property-rights
organization, and Norton followed Watt into the Interior in the 1980s.
Under Watt and Gorsuch, national environmental policy was said to
unravel at incredible pace. Gorsuch is often credited with effectively
ending all hazardous waste litigation by splitting EPA enforcement into
regional and subject areas. Both eventually resigned amid controversy.
During her own tenure as Attorney General, Norton often defended
controversial issues. She took Colorado's attempt to prevent the
enactment of laws protecting gay and lesbian residents all the way to
the Supreme Court, but it was struck down as un-Constitutional in 1996.
Two years later, she and eight other AGs filed a brief in Hawaii Supreme
Court, opposing same-sex marriages.
She also defended the state's regulation of ballot initiatives, but in 1999
the Supreme Court said they went too far in limiting free speech. She
also opposed most forms of race-based college scholarships, authoring
a legal opinion declaring them un-Constitutional.
Her stances, however, on issues like consumer protection and for
forcing the government to clean up the Rocky Mountain Arsenal and the
Rocky Flats have brought her acclaim. Her fellow law enforcers named
her chair of the Environment Committee of the National Association of
Age: 46, Married
Education: J.D., B.A., University of Denver
First female Colorado Attorney General: 1990-1999
Former assistant Solicitor for Department of Interior, overseeing legal
staff of the National Park Service and US Fish and Wildlife under
President Ronald Reagan, 1985-1987.
Former assistant to the Deputy Secretary of Agriculture under President
Ronald Reagan, 1984-1985.
Appointed by President George Bush to serve on Western Water Policy
Copyright © 2000 Noble Savage Media, LLC / Indianz.Com
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