Senate Panel Votes Out Norton Nomination

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee last week voted out the controversial nomination of Gale Norton for secretary of the Department of Interior.

The committee vote was 18 to 2, with Sens. Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) weighing in against her nomination. The full Senate is expected to begin debate on her nomination today and vote on it Tuesday, according to a committee spokesman.

It's not clear yet whether the Norton nomination will face any trouble in the Senate. Wyden and Schumer reportedly have indicated they don't plan to hold it up, a Capitol Hill aide said, but she noted environmental groups are putting enormous pressure on other senators to block her confirmation.

Norton has been under attack by environmental groups, which have accused her of favoring business and individual interests over those of the environment. The groups also are concerned because she advocates opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas exploration and production.

Susan Parker

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