Steve Griles, deputy secretary of the interior, has submitted his
resignation to the Bush administration.
Griles was known for heading the administration’s efforts to open
public lands for energy exploration, such as searching for additional oil
reserves. The Bush administration has pushed to increase production from U.S.
resources as a way to bring down the price of oil and other energy sources – and by extension, the prices at the pump.
Interior Secretary Gail Norton, Griles’ supervisor, praised his
work for the government. Through his work, Norton said, “We have moved
federal relations with the West from antagonism to cooperative conservation. We
have helped implement the National Energy Policy. We have improved the health
of public land forests and rangelands, and enhanced wildlife refuges and our
national parks. We have advanced federal water policy and resolved conflicts
The administration’s position on domestic oil
supplies – including possibly allowing drilling in the Alaska National Wildlife
Refuge – made it a favorite target of environmentalists, who also criticized
Griles’ connections to private energy concerns.
In a series of “talking points” delivered to the National Western
Mining Conference in early 2003 and made available by the Interior Department,
Griles said, “The president’s energy plan encouraged domestic development of oil
including the biggest untapped source we have in Alaska. ANWR is the largest
geologic structure untapped in the USA. Even though it will not make us energy
or oil independent, it is an important component of a diverse energy supply and
we must give the USA opportunity to recover that oil.”