Kathleen B. Clarke

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Kathleen Burton Clarke resigned December 28, 2006 [1] as the 15th Director of the Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Department of the Interior, in the agency's 59-year history and the first woman to be appointed to the position. [2]

Clarke was appointed August 21, 2001, by President George W. Bush to be BLM Director. Her nomination was sent to the Senate October 18, 2001, and she was unanimously confirmed on December 20, 2001. Clarke replaced Thomas A. Frye.

Dissenting Opinions
Upon learning of her appointment by Bush in August 2001, Utah environmentalists claimed Clarke hadn't promoted Wildlife Conservation. In 2001, Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance spokesman Mike Reberg said "Clarke has twice favored oil drilling companies over the environment. 'We're afraid she will do the same thing at the BLM -- harm wildlife in favor of energy exploration. She's bought onto the Bush-Cheney energy plan and shown that in her actions here, and that's bad for Utah wilderness, bad for American wilderness.' ... Other environmentalists [were] also troubled by her record. 'I hope she does a better job managing BLM lands than she has the Bear River water project,' said Zach Frankel, director of the Utah Rivers Council."

Republican Roots
"Clarke is yet another western land manager with close ties to Republican lawmakers. For three years before being tapped to run the BLM, Clarke served as director of Utah's Department of Natural Resources, where she quickly became a favorite of the state's mining and drilling industry. Clarke was appointed to that office by Gov. Mike Leavitt, in whose office she had served as an aide. Clarke had also served for six years on the staff of Rep. Jim Hansen (R-Utah)." [3]

Possible Conflicts of Interest

The Washington-based environmental group Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) charged August 29, 2005 "that Clarke advised and encouraged ranchers to sue the BLM after she failed to overturn grazing permits issued by the Interior Department to an environmental organization." PEER asked for a federal investigation into whether Clarke "broke conflict of interest laws during a dispute over grazing permits in Utah's Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument." [4]

"Clarke was previously cleared of accusations that she had a conflict of interest. The Inspector General cleared Clarke earlier this summer after an investigation into whether she improperly involved herself in the now-canceled San Rafael Swell land exchange, which would have benefited her home state.

"PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch said testimony from a former public lands chairman of the Utah Cattlemen's Association, included in an appeal of the grazing arrangement, backs up his group's claim." [5]

In September 2001, when she "was named to head the BLM, Clarke promised to recuse herself from 'any official matters [that] involve BLM and the state of Utah.' But, according to the Interior Department's own Office of the Inspector General, Clarke may have violated this promise by participating in a controversial proposal in which the BLM undervalued 135,000 acres of public land it was trying to swap with the state of Utah by $116 million. Critics contend that the swap -- promoted by both Leavitt and Hansen -- was designed to benefit business interests.

"In a speech to the Society for Range Management in February 2003, Clarke mused, 'Some of you may remember fondly the days when BLM was called the, or referred to, as the Bureau of Livestock and Mining, and based on what's happened in the last decade, some people thinks it's much closer to the Bureau of Landscapes and Monuments. But I'm here today to tell you we're still interested in multiple use and my motivation for coming to this Agency was to secure that mission.'" --Bob Whitson, September 16, 2004.


Clarke served as Executive Director of the Department of Natural Resources in Utah since 1998 and as Deputy Director starting in 1993. Clarke managed seven divisions: Forestry, Fire and State Lands; Oil, Gas and Mining; Parks and Recreation; Utah Geological Survey; Water Rights; Water Resources; and Wildlife Resources. [6][7]

"Clarke also worked for Rep. James V. Hansen (R-Utah) from 1987 to 1993 as director of constituent services and executive director of Rep. Hansen's office in Ogden, Utah, office. Prior to that, she was co-owner of a construction and real estate business in Kaysville, Utah. In addition, she served as staff assistant in the Washington, D.C. office of [the late] Sen. Wallace F. Bennett (R-Utah)." [8]

"A native of Bountiful, Utah, Ms. Clarke attended Utah State University in Logan, Utah, graduating cum laude with a BA degree in Political Science." [9]

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