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Economy, environment can coexist, Interior Secretary says

http://news.theolympian.com/stories/20010304/Northwest/7606.shtml

Economy, environment can coexist, Interior Secretary says
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
SEASIDE, Ore. -- U.S. Interior Secretary Gale Norton on Saturday said the
economy and property rights have high priorities when weighed against
government efforts to protect the environment.
"I respectfully disagree with those who say in order to preserve our
environment we must violate the Constitution," Norton told the annual
Dorchester Conference, an informal gathering of Oregon Republicans.
Norton, a former Colorado attorney general, has been a strong advocate of
government compensation for property owners who are required to comply with
pollution controls and other environmental safeguards.
Her Cabinet appointment by President Bush sparked intense opposition from
environmentalists who say she has too easily accommodated business in
confrontations over environmental regulations in Colorado.
She told a sympathetic GOP audience Saturday she differs with people who
say
"to be good stewards of our natural treasures we must be willing to
sacrifice jobs" and lower living standards.
"Believe me, it will be the poor who would suffer from that kind of an
approach," she said. "That isn't compassionate and it's certainly not
conservative."
Norton, on her first official trip since taking over the agency that
oversees vast federal lands in the West, spent much of her speech boosting
Bush's programs.
She made no mention of Oregon's sweeping new voter-passed property
compensation measure and took no questions, turning aside a reporter's
inquiry about the initiative proposal approved last November.
The measure, tied up in court appeals, broadly requires governments to pay
landowners when regulations reduce their property values.
U.S. Sen. Gordon Smith, meantime, said Norton had indicated to him the Bush
Administration might scale back some of the national monument designations
made by outgoing President Clinton. In Oregon, Clinton designated Soda
Mountain in southern Oregon as a national monument.
"They're not going to reverse them; they may redo them," Smith said.
Norton last month said the Interior Department would study the 22 monument
actions by Clinton, many made in the final months of his presidency, but
said: "I don't see us making drastic changes," she said.
Norton told the GOP meeting that Clinton "left monuments behind but never
gave us a single ranger to guide us" or even money for marker signs, leaving
such details to his successor.
Among Bush's budget steps, she said, is designating nearly $5 billion to
fix
deteriorating conditions in national parks.
Norton also said the nation can "harvest new technologies" that will lessen
environmental impacts of oil drilling, for example. She has been criticized
for supporting oil exploration in wilderness area.
Because of new techniques, she said, one oil well can do the work that
scores used to do.
"The goal of conservation can be achieved along with a dynamic economy,"
she
said.
But she said partisan wrangling won't likely ease because Democrats "will
not give us a honeymoon, not a year, not a month, not a day."
Sponsors say 630 people have registered at the 37th annual conference, which
continues today with speeches by candidates for governor.
The Olympian Copyright 2000
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
NOTE: In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, any copyrighted
material herein is distributed without profit or payment to those who have
expressed a prior interest in receiving this information for non-profit
research and educational purposes only. For more information go to:
http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml


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