Department of the Interior

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Office of the Secretary
Contact: Dan DuBray
For Immediate Release: Dec. 7, 2004
(202) 208-6415
Secretary Norton Praises Leadership
of Deputy Secretary J. Steven Griles

WASHINGTON-Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton today received with regret the resignation letter to the President from J. Steven Griles, the Department's deputy secretary. The Deputy Secretary is the number two position at the Department of the Interior.

In his resignation letter to the President, Griles wrote, "In 2001, you paid me the highest compliment by nominating me to serve as Deputy Secretary of the Interior. It has been a great honor to serve within your Administration, which recognizes that for conservation efforts to be successful the government must involve the people who live and work on the land."

In accepting Griles' letter, Norton wrote back to him, "Yours is the letter I hoped would never come." She said Griles' work has been outstanding and that he will be greatly missed and she reflected on what his position has meant to the Department and how much they have been able to accomplish with their close partnership:

"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 where possible.

"I know that the frustrations of Indian Trust litigation have taken a toll on you and the other dedicated employees who labored countless evenings and weekends with you. You have done an exemplary job on the difficult task of improving Interior's performance in upholding our fiduciary obligations to American Indians. Without your perseverance and focused commitment, we would never have achieved so much progress."

Griles also wrote the President that he believes the strong foundation of cooperative conservation will be enhanced during the second term. "As a son of Virginia, I have enjoyed working to promote cooperative conservation and to appropriately include local participation in Federal decision-making. Our effort to treat local governments as cooperating partners has resulted in better decisions that are broadly supported by local communities."

Griles will return to private life at the end of January or sooner if a replacement is confirmed.

The Deputy Secretary came to Interior in July 2001 from National Environmental Strategies, Inc. a consulting firm. Prior to that, he was Senior Vice President for Public, Environmental and Marketing Activities for the United Company, a diversified natural resources company.

His extensive government service includes the positions of Assistant Secretary and Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Lands and Minerals Management (1983 to 1989). From 1981 to 1983, Griles was deputy director of Interior's Office of Surface Mining. Before joining the Department, he was Executive Assistant Director at the Virginia Department of Conservation and Economic Development (1970 to 1981). Altogether, Griles has spent more than 22 years in public service.

He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology with a minor in economics from the University of Richmond in 1970 and performed graduate work at Virginia Commonwealth University.





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