The musings of one Andrew Langer - defender of liberty, passionate protector of individual rights, foodie. (Note: Said Musings of Andrew Langer are his own, and the views represented herein are likewise his views, and not the views of any other people, entities, foodstuffs, etc [unless otherwise specifically and explicitly noted].)

Friday, March 17, 2006

As Predicted Here on the Liberty Blog...

Governor Dirk Kempthorne

The Next Secretary of the Interior

At the top of my list the other day was Dirk Kempthorne, former Senator, Governor of Idaho and now the designee for Secretary of the Interior. There had been some talk that it might be Ben Nighthorse Campbell, but that didn't come to pass (clearly).

Here is what the AP had to say:

Idaho Governor Named Interior Secretary - Friday, March 17, 2006
(03-17) 02:17 PST WASHINGTON, (AP) --
Idaho Gov. Dirk Kempthorne, a pro-development Western Republican, will be President Bush's chief advocate for more oil and gas drilling from the Gulf of Mexico to Alaska's North Slope if confirmed as the nation's next interior secretary.

Kempthorne's chances of getting the post are greatly increased by his six years as a senator from 1993 through 1998. The Senate, which must approve the nomination, rarely turns down one of its former members for the Cabinet, and Republicans hold the majority with 55 of 100 seats.

"Dirk is a strong nominee," Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., said Thursday following Bush's announcement. "He's an outspoken advocate for America's parks and has a wealth of public service experience at both the state and federal levels. I look forward to his swift confirmation by the Senate."

One Democrat, Sen. Maria Cantwell of Washington, said she welcomed the appointment. "He understands the Northwest and a lot of Interior issues," she said, adding that Kempthorne had "stood up to the administration" over nuclear waste cleanup at a federal facility in Idaho.

The League of Conservation Voters, the main lobbying arm for environmental groups, said its scorekeeping shows Kempthorne hostile to their interests.

"During his career in Congress, Governor Kempthorne earned a paltry 1 percent lifetime LCV score. Enough said," declared Tony Massaro, a senior vice president of the group.

Kempthorne, 54, would replace departing Interior Secretary Gale Norton. He would take over managing areas as diverse as the Grand Canyon and the Gettysburg battlefield. Norton announced her resignation last week after five years of running a department that manages one-fifth of the nation's land.

"Dirk has had a long and abiding love for nature," Bush said as he announced the appointment.

The president said Kempthorne has broad experience needed for managing the 388 parts of the National Park system, 544 wildlife refuges and more than 260 million acres of multiple-use lands located mainly in 12 Western states.

"Dirk understands that those who live closest to the land know how to manage it best, and he will work closely with state and local leaders to ensure wise stewardship of our resources," Bush said.

Kempthorne promised to be "a responsible steward of the land and the natural resources with which our nation has been blessed."

On a new interior secretary's agenda is the administration's desire to open 3.6 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico to oil and gas drilling over vehement objections from the president's brother, Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. He also would push the administration's campaign to allow oil drilling in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

After his one term in the Senate, Kempthorne was elected governor in 1998 and easily won a second term in 2002 with more than 55 percent of the vote in his reliably Republican, conservative state. He spent the past year pushing for more state parks and improving and expanding the state's roads with money raised from bonds.

Two days before Bush took office, Kempthorne sued to block the Clinton administration's plan to reintroduce up to 25 grizzly bears over five years into the Bitterroot wilderness of Idaho and Montana. Norton withdrew the plan five months later.

Kempthorne also was part of a four-state salmon recovery effort, working with Indian tribes and the Northwest Power Planning Council to try to help the endangered fish without removing dams or curtailing hydroelectric power output.


Here is a picture of Kempthorne with the President in the summer of 2005.

- Andrew Langer


Post a Comment

<< Home