Ann Klee, currently general counsel to Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton, has been nominated by the Bush Administration to become general counsel of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Klee is a Washington veteran with a long history representing conservative interests on environmental issues. After working as a lawyer in Washington for several years, Klee becameenvironmental counsel to Senator Dirk Kempthorne (R-ID) in 1995. Now governor of Idaho, Kempthorne is an outspoken opponent of many federal environmental laws and programs.
In 1997, Klee joined the staff of the powerful Senate Environmental and Public Works Committee, where she was a central figure in a 1998 attempt to weaken the Endangered Species Act. Klee became chief counsel of EPW in 1999, and went on to lead the Bush Department of Interior transition team after the 2000 election. In 2001 she was appointed to her current post at Interior.
Klee’s appointment to EPA is currently up for confirmation by the Senate. But Vermont Independent Jim Jeffords and several Democratic senators plan to block hers and other pending EPA nominations. The senators are concerned that more than two years’ worth of information requests to EPA regarding various Bush administration environmental policies have gone largely unanswered.