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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
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Copyright © 2001 Express Publishing Inc.
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For the week of August 22 - 28, 2001


Foxes in the henhouse

The new landlady of 436 million acres of federal public land is positively giddy about her new power.

"I just have to keep pinching myself," Interior Secretary Gale Norton bubbled during a visit to Idaho. "I still canít believe Iím actually doing this."

The "doing this" part is what should trouble Americans concerned with national treasures entrusted to President George W. Bush and his equerries.

Secretary Norton gives new meaning to the metaphor about foxes guarding the henhouse.

Her right-hand man, Steven Griles, lobbied for mining interests. Her new lawyer, William Myers III, filed lawsuits for cattlemen against policies heís now asked to uphold.

Her water/science assistant, Bennett Raley, worked for irrigation interests hostile to federal policy. Assistant Secretary for Policy Lynn Scarlett came from the Reason Foundation, a think tank antagonistic to government.

Secretary Nortonís new troubleshooter in western states is Kit Kimball, onetime lobbyist for energy companies. And Camden Toohey, whoíll preside over Interior affairs in Alaska, was a lobbyist for Arctic oil drilling.

And Ms. Norton once was senior attorney for the Mountain States Legal Foundation, whose mission is challenging environmental laws.

So, Interiorís top brass have lobbied and litigated against the very agency for which they now work.

Now, do you suppose this claque will side with the environment in a dispute?

Meanwhile, Idahoís junior U.S. senator, Republican Mike Crapo, has introduced legislation for taxpayers to pony up $250 million to clean up the mess left in the Coeur díAlene Basin by Hecla Mining Co.

Presumably, Sen. Crapo, a dutiful GOP foot soldier, supports more mining and drilling on public lands that then will cost more millions to clean up.


The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.