Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
Fighting for Our Right to Irrigate Our Farms and Caretake Our Natural Resources

                   New USFWS Administrator Confirmed by Senate

WASHINGTON, DC, January 30, 2002 (ENS) - The U.S. Senate has confirmed Steven Williams, the Bush administration's choice to head the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS).

Williams, secretary of the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, was nominated last July to head the USFWS, an agency overseen by the Department of Interior. By law, the USFWS director must have a scientific education and experience in the principles of fisheries and wildlife management.

"Steve Williams is an avid outdoorsman whose professional experience and leadership skills make him an excellent candidate for Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service," said Interior Secretary Gale Norton. "In his current position Steve has demonstrated a strong ability to bring together groups of various interests to create opportunities as well as to resolve natural resource issues."

The nomination cleared the Senate on Tuesday, after Senator Bob Graham, a Florida Democrat, ended his efforts to block Williams' confirmation. Graham had put a hold on the nomination last November, after the Bush administration announced plans to close an Everglades restoration office in West Palm Beach, Florida.

Secretary Norton said the closing would streamline efforts to restore the Florida Everglades, and save $1.3 million over three years. The extra money could be used to combat invasive species in the Everglades, Norton said.

Graham met with Norton in late November to discuss the Interior Department's long range plans for the $7.8 billion restoration effort in the Everglades. The Senator's office said today that Graham was satisfied that the Interior Department would continue to work toward protection and restoration of the Everglades.


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