Gale Norton resigns as U.S. Secretary of the Interior

Friday, March 10, 2006

Gale Norton announced her resignation today as United States Secretary of the Interior, effective at the end of March. She stated that she was leaving for "personal reasons." The announcement came as the Senate Indian Affairs Committee investigates Jack Abramoff. E-mails seen by the Committee have suggested that there was a close relationship between Abramoff and Norton's former deputy, Steven Griles. According to John McCain, R-Ariz., Abramoff gained access to Griles by promising donations from his clients to Italia Federici.

During her tenure in the Department of the Interior, Norton supported drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and opened other public land for drilling.

The President has nominated Dirk Kempthorne, the current Governor of Idaho to replace her. By tradition this particular secretary comes from a western state or territory.