If You Go
Date: January 19, 2006

Secretaries of the Interior Series

Donald Hodel, who held two cabinet posts during the Reagan administration, including Secretary of the Interior, will speak at the University of Colorado at Boulder on January 19, 2006.

Hodel will speak at 6:00 p.m. in the Eaton Humanities Building, room 150, in a conversation with CU-Boulder Professor of History and Environmental Studies, Patricia Limerick, and Charles Wilkinson, Distinguished Professor of Law. The talk is free and open to the public and will be followed by a reception.

The event is part of the Wren and Tim Wirth Forum on the American West, which has brought six former Secretaries of the Interior, and current Secretary Gale Norton, to campus to discuss their roles in shaping the West. Hodel was Secretary of the Interior from 1985 to 1989 and Secretary of Energy from 1982 to 1985.

The series is sponsored by the CU-Boulder Center of the American West, The Nature Conservancy, and the Denver law firms of Brownstein, Hyatt and Farber, and McKenna, Long and Aldridge.

As Interior Secretary, Hodel focused on energy issues and pushed to increase domestic energy production through the expansion of drilling offshore and in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. His emphasis on domestic oil production and his belief that energy matters are best left to the free market often brought Hodel into disagreement with coastal states such as California and with environmental preservationists.

But Hodel also supported the restoration of the flooded Hetch Hetchy Valley in Yosemite National Park. A Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial series in the Sacramento Bee newspaper in 2004 gave Hodel, along with a team of scientists who studied the issue, credit for figuring out the science of restoring the valley. The issue is still actively debated today.

“Donald Hodel is a thoughtful man, well worth our close attention,” said Limerick, Faculty Director of the Center of the American West. “We are very grateful for his willingness to join in this conversation and to enrich our understanding of the crucial role of the Department of the Interior in the history of the West.”

Hodel was born in Portland, Oregon, and earned a Bachelor’s degree from Harvard University and a law degree from the University of Oregon. After serving as Interior Secretary, he worked in the energy consulting business. He also served two years as president and CEO of Focus on the Family until February 2005 and was president of the Christian Coalition from 1997 to 1999.

Hodel’s appearance is part of a series of events in 2006 celebrating the CU-Boulder Center of the American West’s 20th anniversary.