Alaska senators predict confirmation for Norton at Interior

Posted: Friday, January 05, 2001

FAIRBANKS (AP) -- Alaska's two Republican U.S. senators are predicting Interior secretary nominee Gale Norton will secure confirmation despite opposition from environmental groups.

Norton is a former attorney general of Colorado. She has drawn opposition from environmentalists because of her stands on pollution control methods and support of oil drilling on the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Sen. Frank Murkowski said Thursday those issues were debated during the presidential campaign and offer no reason to reject Norton.

''She supports the platform of the president(-elect),'' Murkowski said.

Sen. Ted Stevens said he didn't see any problems in getting Norton confirmed. He also praised the Commerce secretary nominee, Donald Evans.

Stevens said he met with Evans for 45 minutes Wednesday.

Evans, if confirmed, would oversee the National Marine Fisheries Service, which manages fisheries in federal waters off Alaska, a topic of great interest to Stevens.

Stevens also met with Defense secretary nominee Donald Rumsfeld.

Stevens noted that Rumsfeld recently led a commission that looked at the proposed National Missile Defense system, portions of which would be based in Alaska.

Rumsfeld supports building such a system, Stevens said.

On Monday, Stevens and seven other senators will travel to Austin, Texas, to meet with Bush, on defense issues.

Stevens said he and Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, will argue that the Pacific often is overlooked in defense planning.

From Austin, he and Inouye will fly to Hawaii to meet with the Pacific command, Stevens told the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner.

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