Department Of Interior

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Office of the Secretary
Contact: John Wright
For Immediate Release: July 16, 2004
(202) 208-6416

Secretary Norton Commends Rep. Pombo
For Legislation to recruit volunteers


Washington, DC-Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton today commended Chairman Richard Pombo, R-Calif. for legislation that would allow increased use of volunteers in Interior Department agencies. Pombo is Chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Resources, and the legislation on volunteers passed the Committee this week and awaits action in the full House.

"I commend Congressman Pombo and the House Resources Committee for their action on this important legislation to expand the use of volunteers in Interior Department programs," said Norton. "Volunteers are highly valued and are very important to our ability to do more in our service to the American people."

The Interior Department is fortunate to have more than 200,000 volunteers who provide assistance in areas like National Parks and wildlife refuges. But of Interior's eight bureaus, only five have been granted permission by Congress to accept volunteers.

The proposed legislation would allow Interior to recruit and use volunteers in the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and the offices of the Secretary. It also addresses some problems with existing volunteer authority at the Bureau of Reclamation and the U.S. Geological Survey.

"This legislation would allow volunteers for the first time to assist us with fulfilling the mission of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and assist in the extended Office of the Secretary. It will also make it easier for people with an interest in the programs of the Bureau of Reclamation and the U.S. Geological Survey to take advantage of volunteer opportunities by clearing away some existing bureaucratic roadblocks."


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