Published: Nov. 23, 2004

Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton visited the law school on Tuesday, November 23, 2004, and fielded questions from an engaged audience of law students, faculty, and visitors. The Natural Resources Law Center hosted Secretary Norton, who was on campus as part of the Center of the American West's series, "Conversations with the Secretaries of the Interior." Secretary Norton took an hour out of a packed schedule, and addressed matters ranging from National Park funding to grazing policies. Seth Lucia, a third year law student, asked about the Secretary's impression of how a recent Supreme Court case, SUWA v. Norton (click here for PDF of the opinion), would affect the Bureau of Land Management's ability to protect wilderness study areas from off-road vehicle over-use. Secretary Norton responded that the decision provided some insulation to the Department from litigation, and would therefore free up the agency to address the issue in different ways in different locales. This exchange typified the hour, which was marked by the substantive nature of the questions and the respectful tone of the discussion. "The turn-out was impressive, given that it is the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, and we are fortunate both that Secretary Norton could squeeze us in and that our students are so smart and knowledgeable," commented Professor Sarah Krakoff, Acting Director of the Natural Resources Law Center.