Enviros decry Bush’s nomination of Kempthorne to lead Interior

He’s a mountain-bike enthusiast, two-term governor, and object of fear and loathing among conservationists. And he just picked another one. Mere days after the resignation of Gale Norton as secretary of the interior, President Bush nominated as her replacement Idaho Gov. Dirk Kempthorne (R), saying he would help “develop the energy potential of federal lands and waters in environmentally sensitive ways.” While some headline writers celebrated the ascension of a man named “Dirk” to high office, many environmentalists were dismayed. The Dirkster’s gubernatorial record includes suing to overturn Clinton’s roadless rule and pushing for changes to weaken the Endangered Species Act. And as an Idaho senator in the 1990s, Dirkheimer earned a lifetime League of Conservation Voters score of 1 percent (that’s no typo!). Some Bushie environmental policies could put Tricky Dirk in a tough spot — think selling off Western lands beloved by his home-state hook-and-bullet crowd — but for the most part, Bush and his Dirk are peas in a dirty-energy pod.