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E-M:/ LCV re: Abraham & Norton



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Enviro-Mich message from "Patrick Diehl" <patmec@voyager.net>
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                    		CONTACT: 	Shalen Fairbanks,
202-454-4600
January 2, 2001                          				Lisa Wade Raasch, 202-454-4586


		Bush’s Choices for Energy, Interior Secretaries Condemned by Conservation
Group
					as Environmental Regress, Not Progress


WASHINGTON, DC — The nomination of former Senator Spencer Abraham and former
Colorado Attorney General Gale Norton to head the departments of Energy and
Interior, respectively, is a giant step backwards for environmental
protection, the League of Conservation Voters (LCV) concluded today.  Bush
announced Abraham’s nomination today and Norton’s last Friday.

“We are stunned by President-elect Bush’s appointment of Abraham, a member
of LCV’s 2000 Dirty Dozen list, and our number one target for defeat last
year,” said LCV President Deb Callahan.  “He even co-sponsored a bill to
abolish the very department he’s been nominated to lead.  In Norton, Bush
has nominated someone whose environmental ethic is a throwback to the James
Watt era — one of the darkest periods of natural resource exploitation.
These appointments don’t reflect the reality that conservatism and
conservation shouldn’t be treated as conflicting values.”

Abraham, who served as a U.S. Senator from Michigan from 1995 to 2000,
compiled an abysmal lifetime LCV environmental voting score of five
percent — the worst in Michigan and the worst in the Great Lakes region.  In
the last Congress, Abraham earned a failing score of zero percent.  LCV
named Abraham to its 2000 Dirty Dozen list of anti-environment congressional
candidates and spent $700,000 in a successful effort to inform voters of his
anti-environment record and ensure his defeat.  In 1999, Abraham was one of
four senators to sponsor a bill to abolish the Energy Department.  Also that
year, he voted against stronger fuel-efficiency standards for cars and
trucks and to cut funding for renewable energy programs.  Abraham also
supported numerous legislative riders to eliminate the EPA’s role in
protecting wetlands and to prohibit the EPA from regulating arsenic in
drinking water.  In 1998, he supported a rider to the Fiscal Year 2000
Interior Appropriations bill that would have legalized unlimited mine waste
dumping on public lands.  In 2000, Abraham’s re-election campaign accepted
more campaign contributions from polluting industries and interests than any
other congressional candidate — over $700,000.

Norton is a protégé of James Watt, President Reagan's controversial Interior
secretary from 1981 to 1983.  She worked for Watt while he was president of
the Mountain States Legal Foundation, a conservative organization that
strongly supports “takings” legislation and logging and mining on the nation
’s public lands.  She also served in the Reagan administration, first in the
Agriculture Department and then in the Interior Department where she helped
advocate for the Reagan administration’s position on oil drilling in the
Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.  As Colorado Attorney General, Norton was
instrumental in creating the state’s “self audit” program, which gives
businesses immunity from litigation and fines if they voluntarily report and
correct violations of environmental laws.  She is also a former co-chair of
the Coalition of Republican Environmental Advocates (CREA), an
industry-funded front group whose members include such anti-environment foes
as Representative Chenoweth-Hage and House Resources Committee Chairman Don
Young.

“Abraham and Norton’s nominations are terrible news for the majority of
Americans who rank protecting the nation’s air, water and national resources
among their top priorities,” said LCV President Deb Callahan. “While Bush’s
appointment of Christie Todd Whitman to head the Environmental Protection
Agency appeared to be a step in the right direction, his choices of Abraham
and Norton are signs of environmental regress, not progress.

”To date, Bush has nominated Commerce Secretary Norman Y. Mineta to be
secretary of Transportation.  Mineta, a Democratic member of the House from
1975 to 1995, earned a lifetime environmental average of 75 percent. In
addition, John Ashcroft has been nominated to serve as attorney general.
Ashcroft, a former U.S. Senator from Missouri, earned a lifetime LCV
environmental rating of five percent for his votes on key environmental
legislation from 1995 to 2000.  He repeatedly voted against funding for
clean air and water and against increased funding for the cleanup of toxic
waste sites.  Bush has also named Ann Veneman as his choice for agriculture
secretary and Donald Evans, Bush campaign chairman and the chairman of an
oil company, as commerce secretary.  Both Evans and Veneman will have
significant jurisdiction over key environmental policies pertaining to such
hot-button environmental issues as genetically modified food, trade and
environment, and marine and coastal protections.

The League of Conservation Voters is the political voice for the national
environmental community. LCV has published a Scorecard for each Congress
since 1970.  The votes tabulated in the Scorecards are based on the
consensus recommendation of experts from 25 nonpartisan environmental,
conservation and sportsmen’s groups.  The Scorecard assigns a percentage
score to every representative and senator. A 100 percent score indicates the
strongest environmental commitment, while a zero percent shows a consistent
voting pattern against conservation and public health protections. LCV is
working full-time to monitor administration appointments and actions that
affect the environment.  Information on LCV’s efforts pertaining to the
administration will be made available to reporters and over the Internet at
www.lcv.org.

							#  # #


League of Conservation Voters
1920 L Street NW, Suite 800
Washington, DC 20036202-785-8683
Fax: 202-835-0491
http://www.lcv.org




Patrick Diehl
Associate Director
Michigan Environmental Council
119 Pere Marquette, Suite 2A
Lansing, Michigan 48912
517-487-9539
517-487-9541 fax
e-mail: patmec@voyager.net



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