James G. Watt
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James Gaius Watt served as U.S. Secretary of the Interior under President Ronald Reagan from 1981 to 1983. He was probably the most destructive and disruptive of all President Reagan's controversial cabinet appointments to senior advisory positions. He became the most obvious public leader of anti-environmentalism, and he played an instrumental role in ending the Sagebrush Rebellion, an attempt to preserve natural lands of the West against mining and over-grazing. Watt, and his appointees blocked wilderness designation legislation and slowed the work of federal land management agencies.
He was a life-long political apparatchik; trained as a lawyer at the University of Wyoming, but then entering political life as an aide to Republican senator Milward Simpson of Wyoming. His power-base was developed through the US Chamber of Commerce, where he served as Secretary to the Natural Resources Committee, and the Environmental Pollution Advisory Panel - both dedicated to exploiting, rather than preserving.
In 1969 he became deputy assistant secretary o water and power development at the Department of the Interior, and in 1975 he was appointed vice chairman of the Federal Power Commission.
In 1976, Watt founded the Mountain States Legal Foundation, a law firm-cum-think-tank foundation "dedicated to individual liberty, the right to own and use property, limited and ethical government and economic freedom." Both Gale Norton and Ann Veneman worked in the MSLF with Watt, and later became associates in the Reagan Administration.
The most "intensely controversial and blatantly anti-environmental political appointments to top environmental positions are:
- James G Watt - Sec of the Department of Interior under President Reagan (indicted on 25 counts of felony perjury and obstruction of justice; accused of making false statements before the grand jury investigating influence peddling. Sentenced to five years' probation) 
- Dirk Kempthorne Secretary of the Interior (2006-2009) under President George W. Bush (investigated many times, never convicted) 
- Anne McGill Gorsuch (aka Anne Irene McGill and Anne Gorsuch Burford) - Administrator of the EPA under Reagan (cited for contempt of Congress & resigned before dismissal) 
- Rita Lavelle - EPA Assistant Administrator for Solid Waste and Emergency Response (sent to prison for perjury).
- Julie MacDonald Deputy Assistant Secretary of Interior under President GW Bush (resigned under investigation), 
- Gale A Norton Secretary of the Interior under President George W Bush - (resigned under investigation for complicity in links to felon Jack Abramoff.) 
According to the environmental advocacy group Center for Biological Diversity, for over two decades, Watt held the record for protecting the fewest species under the Endangered Species Act in United States history.
Articles and resources
- ↑ Kempthorne Wins 2007 Rubber Dodo Award : Protects Fewer Species Than Any Interior Secretary in History. E-wire (2007-08-27). Retrieved on 2011-04-22. “The Center for Biological Diversity ... The previous recordholder was James Watt, who listed no species for 376 days between 1981 and 1982.”
- ↑ Texon Advisory Board, organizational web page, accessed March 27, 2013.
Related SourceWatch articles
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