In a blow to environmentalists, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee voted 18-2 this morning to confirm the nomination of Gale Norton for Interior secretary. Republicans and Democrats alike predicted that Norton would easily be confirmed next week by the full Senate to the post. Environmental groups have been lobbying full-bore over the past couple of weeks to derail the nomination, maintaining that Norton’s past record indicated that she would favor logging, grazing, and mining interests over conservation. But any concerns held by committee senators seemed to be diffused in hearings last week when Norton claimed she would do her best to enforce environmental laws on the books. Only Sens. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) opposed her nomination on the committee.