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E-M:/ Sierra Club Praises Stabenow and Levin for Stance Against Norton

Enviro-Mich message from "Daniel Farough" <daniel.farough@sierraclub.org>

Sierra Club News Release
109 East Grand River, Lansing, MI 48906 – Ph: 517/484-2372 – Fax

  For Immediate Release:						Contact:
  Tuesday, January 30, 2001					Alison Horton or
									Dan Farough, Lansing
									(517) 484-2372


LANSING - The Mackinac Chapter of the Sierra Club praised Senators Levin and
Stabenow for voting against the confirmation of Gale Norton as Secretary of
the Interior today.  The U.S. Senate's confirmation of Norton could lead to
devastation of Michigan’s parks and natural areas unless Congress and the
residents of Michigan keep close tabs on Norton's actions, the Sierra Club
warned.  The group said the public outcry at her nomination demonstrates
that Americans reject the extremist views Norton has advocated.

"We applaud Senators Levin and Stabenow for voting against someone whose
views on the environment are far out of step with the vast majority of
people from Michigan,” said Daniel Farough of the Mackinac Chapter of the
Sierra Club. "Norton's extremist views on public lands could have serious
impacts on beautiful natural places like Sleeping Bear Dunes National
Lakeshore or Seney National Wildlife Refuge unless Senators Levin and
Stabenow and the residents of Michigan keep extremely close tabs on Norton's

Gale Norton has long advocated opening America's wildlands to the oil, gas,
mining and logging industries. In addition, to putting local treasures at
risk, she could be a powerful advocate for slant drilling the Great Lakes
for oil - a risky procedure that could harm the Great Lakes fragile
ecosystem or contaminate drinking water sources here in Michigan.

"By voting against Gale Norton, Senators Levin and Stabenow have shown that
they care about the natural areas and the environment of Michigan," said
Farough. Unfortunately, Norton was still confirmed. Under the heat of
Senators' inquiries, Norton ducked many questions, but she made some
commitments to enforcing laws that she had previously advocated against as a
lawyer and lobbyist.  “Two days of hearings cannot negate the decades that
Norton has worked to dismantle laws protecting our environment and public
lands,” said Farough.  “Senator Stabenow and Levin, by voting against Norton
demonstrated their willingness to remain vigilant in protecting our natural

Under questioning, Norton said she would uphold federal law stipulating that
protecting endangered species can require protecting their habitat.  During
her legal career, however, Norton had argued this violated the so-called
takings clause of the U.S. Constitution.  The real-world implication of her
previous position would have prohibited people from killing the Gray Wolf or
Bald Eagle outright, but allowed them to destroy the habitat upon which they

"We understand that deference is paid to a President's choices, but we felt
we had a responsibility to shed light on Norton's radical record and warn
that Americans would not simply stand for her extremist agenda," Farough
said.  "Norton's nomination is plain and simply a reward to the oil, gas and
mining industries that funded President Bush's campaign.  This election was
no mandate to pillage our public lands.  If Norton pushes policies that
profit polluters at the expense of our clean water and spectacular lands,
Americans will howl in protest and we will urge Senators Stabenow and Levin
to stop her dead in her tracks."

In comparison to the 24 Senators who voted against Norton today, 12
Senators voted against the 1981 nomination of Norton's mentor, James Watt,
who was later ousted as Interior Secretary due to his extremist agenda.

Through local press conferences, email campaigns, phonebanks, volunteer
Mobilizing, radio and television advertising, and other grassroots actions,
the Sierra Club educated the people of [your state] about Norton's
anti-environmental positions and raised questions about her qualifications
for Interior Secretary.
                                   # # #

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