Yesterday the president proposed a replacement for outgoing interior secretary Gale Norton. Jonathan Adler reacts in National Review:
President Bush's selection of Idaho Governor Dirk Kempthorne to be the next Interior Secretary was not surprising, but it is not particularly encouraging either. As a Senator, Kempthorne was less interested in good legislation than he was in seeing environmental legislation he sponsored pass. As a result he squandered opportunities to advance meaningful reforms. He also pushed an Endangered Species Act Reauthorization bill that served the interests of big business without providing any meaningful protection for private property rights. If he resumes this approach as Interior Secretary, the Bush Administration's outdoors policy is unlikely to improve.
I'm with Adler on this one. Kempthorne's endangered species bill was the subject of the only piece I ever wrote for National Review; it isn't on their website anymore, but you can read it in the Internet Archive. Here's the money quote: "The bill would indeed help certain industries, and the corporate lobbies know it. Several of them—the National Association of Homebuilders, the American Forest and Paper Association, the Building Owners and Managers Association—have heartily endorsed S-1180. But from the perspective of an embattled landowner, the bill is worse than useless: it would actually strengthen the hand of the regulators."