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A STORM, A LULL—AND NOW PHASE 3
On the face of it, William Clark's announcement last week that he will resign as Interior Secretary in March doesn't bode as ill for the environment as William Ruckelshaus's recent resignation as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (Score-card, Dec. 10, 1984). After all, the changes Clark wrought at Interior after James Watt's tumultuous tenure ended 15 months ago were largely cosmetic. Clark opened his door to environmental groups, but the un-Watt-ish give-and-take that resulted, welcome though it was, didn't often lead to action. He reduced exploration areas for offshore oil and gas but continued to promote economic development of federal lands and "area-wide" bidding for large offshore tracts. He was more active in protecting endangered species than Watt but less so than earlier Interior Secretaries. Summing up Clark's performance, William Turnage, president of the Wilderness Society, says, "He covered up Watt's disasters while carrying out his policies. In terms of environmental records, they're the two worst Interior Secretaries in the history of the United States."
But bidding good riddance to Clark may be out of order. As Ruckelshaus did at the EPA, Clark defused the controversy embroiling Interior and lifted sagging employee morale. Rep. Morris Udall (D-Ariz.), longtime chairman of the House Interior Committee, says, "He had a sense of fairness. So much of life in government is style. He didn't really advocate or put into effect any new policies that I would approve of, [but] he was direct and forward; his word was good. He brought civilized discourse."
More substantively, Clark sought to protect Interior against an increasingly implacable foe of the environment, the Office of Management and Budget. Using his 20-year friendship with President Reagan to advantage, Clark sometimes successfully fought OMB director David Stockman's attempts to block funds for Western water-resource projects and parklands. It's true that he acted only after Congress firmly reminded him that Interior was legally obliged to spend this money, but, as former Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson, now counselor to the Wilderness Society, says, "When Watt was there, he would be on Stockman's side."
Environmental policy under President Reagan has evolved in phases. Phase 1 was marked by wholesale staff and budget cuts by Watt and EPA administrator Anne Bur-ford and by an assault on long-held beliefs about the proper balance between conservation and development. Phase 2, the parallel tenures of Clark and Ruckelshaus, was a calming period. This lull served Reagan well during the presidential campaign by taking the heat off his environmental record, even as it bolstered Interior and the EPA. Now those agencies, again in tandem, enter Phase 3, in which consideration of key issues, including reauthorization of the Clear Air and Clean Water acts, cornerstones of U.S. environmental law, will almost certainly be delayed as new administrators take over.
The departures of Ruckelshaus and Clark probably will result in a loss of clout for their respective agencies. Ruckelshaus will be replaced by EPA toxic-wastes chief Lee M. Thomas, whose name carries less prestige than that of his predecessor. It's unlikely that Clark's as-yet-unnamed successor will have the same influence he had with the President. This could adversely affect the struggle with OMB at a time when heavy domestic spending cuts are contemplated. Watt once boasted that the Administration would use "the budget to be the excuse to make major policy decisions" on the environment. With the EPA and Interior both in less sure hands, that strategy could now be easier to implement.
THE CARDIAC KIDS
?On Jan. 2, 1984, a fingertip deflection by Hurricane roverback Kenny Calhoun foiled a two-point conversion try and preserved a 31-30 Orange Bowl victory over No. 1 and supposedly invincible Nebraska that gave Miami the 1983 national title. The game was described on SI's cover as MIRACLE IN MIAMI.
?On Aug. 27, Miami opened the 1984 season by knocking off its second straight top-ranked (by AP and UPI) opponent—a 20-18 win over Auburn in the Kickoff Classic. The winning points were provided by the second of two come-from-be-hind, fourth-quarter field goals by Greg Cox.