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Nation IN BRIEF / WASHINGTON, D.C.

Norton Defends Call for Species Powers

April 13, 2001|From Times Wire Reports

Interior Secretary Gale A. Norton defended her request that Congress expand her powers so she can curb lawsuits aimed at getting new endangered species listed. Mounting legal expenses, she said, are undermining her agency's ability to protect rare plants and animals, and their habitats.

"The Fish and Wildlife Service budget for listing species is being devoured by court costs," Norton said in a speech to the Competitive Enterprise Institute's Center for Private Conservation.

Officials in both the Bush and Clinton administrations have attacked the proliferation of suits by environmentalists and other opponents of highway, dam and airport projects.

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