Bruce Babbitt, President Clinton's Secretary of the Interior,
is a former attorney general and former governor of the State
of Arizona. Babbitt became governor after one Governor resigned
and his replacement died, leaving Babbitt the next in line for
the post. In 1988, Babbitt ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic
presidential nomination, failing to ever register in the double
digits in public opinion polls. But the contacts Babbitt made
while on the campaign trail reportedly helped him land his next
job -- as President of the League of Conservation Voters.
The League of Conservation Voters was founded in 1970 by Friends of the Earth. Each year, it publishes a National Environmental Scorecard, rating Members of Congress on their votes on environmental issues -- or, to be more precise, on their support for more and more regulation. In 1994, the League's PAC provided $777,717 in donations to congressional candidates, 95% of whom were democrats. The League's Scorecard and PAC contributions appear to be a powerful combination: Members of Congress receiving donations from the League of Conservation Voters' PAC in 1994 voted for the League's agenda -- as measured by the Scorecard -- an average of 89% of the time. Babbitt's tenure as the League's president may be most remembered for a rather intemperate remark he included in the introduction to the League's 1991 Scorecard: "We must identify our enemies and drive them into oblivion."
As Secretary of Interior, Bruce Babbitt has been one of the Clinton Administration's most unpopular cabinet secretaries -- particularly in the West. Upon taking office he moved quickly to attempt to raise grazing and mining fees on already economically-distressed ranching and mining industries and created over congressional objections the National Biological Service, a agency created to assess the nation's biological resources that too often has -- as congressional opponents feared -- been used to violate landowners' privacy and property rights. Babbitt also assembled a team at Interior openly hostile to the resource-dependent communities of the West. For example, George Frampton, Babbitt's choice for Assistant Secretary of Interior for Fish, Wildlife and Parks was a former president of the Wilderness Society. Speaking before an Earth Day Press Conference in 1992, Frampton said, "...A group of industries, principally mining, logging and... ranching... for decades have enjoyed enormous federal subsidies to develop and exploit the public lands... We're going to help the environment... And they're fighting back. If you had a license to loot the federal treasury, you'd be fighting to keep it too." One of Secretary Babbitt's most controversial moves, however, was his apparent assault on the Boy Scouts of America. Shortly after joining the Clinton Administration, Secretary Babbitt reinstated a National Park Service order prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in the Service's Western Region. Under the order, the Boy Scouts of America -- which does not permit avowed homosexuals to serve as troop leaders -- could have been barred from volunteering in the National Parks. Subsequent public outrage over the Secretary's decision ensured that the Boy Scouts would not be barred from National Parks.
Version Date: February 1996
|Return to the National Center Home Page||Return to the Dossier Index|
|Go to the Environmental Policy Task Force Home Page||Go to the Earth Day Information Center Home Page|
|Go to the Global Warming Information Center Home Page|