This scares the crap out of me... let's not forget James Watt, Ronnie Raygun's Secretary of the Interior. He did step foot into a National Park once, to look at the old growth in the Olympic Forest. He decided that the last 3% needed to come down, but luckily it was partially stopped by people who care.
Remember the spotted owl? It forced timber companies to reduce harvest, right? It forced working americans to starve, right? The truth is that annual harvest levels never declined through the ESA war, in fact they increased steadily. The real problem starving businesses was that timber conglomerates who have many hands in their pockets from the right side of capitol hill changed their business model to exporting raw logs overseas instead of dealing with local mills and manufacturers of goods. There is reportedly enough northwest timber buried in salt bogs in Asia that it would take 40 years to consume the reserve at current production rates. Why don't we prohibit that and export finished goods, putting local businesses hard at work utilizing that timber? FYI - much of the finished product from that wood is re-imported to North America. Lose-lose, unless you are a big timber executive. The little guy get shafted.
Watt also supported a proprosal to strip mine Yellowstone.
Regardless of your political position compare his record with Babbitt's - small victories are more meaningful to me, someday before I die I will walk the upper Elwha and see a steelhead above the illegal dam site. Thank you Bruce, may the dream come true.
It's dubious at best that anyone Bush appoints has any genuine interest in protecting natural resources. The agenda is clearly to figure out ways to exploit what we have without damaging Jr's re-election campaign plans, which at this point are looking v-e-r-y bleak.