Topeka, Kan. Kansas Wildlife and Parks Secretary Steve Williams
has been nominated by President Bush to be the next director of the
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The nomination was one of eight, which await Senate
confirmation, made Wednesday by Bush. Interior Secretary Gale
Norton praised Bush’s choice of Williams.
“In his current position, Steve has demonstrated a strong
ability to bring together groups of various interests to create
opportunities as well as to resolve natural resource issues,”
Williams said he had long viewed the post as the “ultimate in
the fish and wildlife profession.”
“I’m really honored that my name would be put forth for the
nomination,” Williams said. “It’s an exciting time. I’m a little
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service manages the 94 million-acre
National Wildlife Refuge System and enforces federal wildlife laws.
It also is responsible for administering the Endangered Species
Williams, 44, joined the Gov. Bill Graves administration in
April ’95. He oversees a 400-person department and a budget of $39
“This federal appointment validates all of Secretary Williams’
good work here in Kansas,” Graves said in a statement. “He leaves
behind a much improved parks infrastructure an a sound set of
policies relating to wildlife management.”
John Dykes, chairman of the Kansas Wildlife and Parks
Commission, praised Williams for his ability to pull together a
department that had been under financial pressure, while at the
same time improving staff morale and the department’s image.
Before the Kansas post, Williams served as deputy executive
director of the Pennsylvania Game Commission from 1992-95. Before
that, he worked in the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and
Wildlife, as a deer biologist from 1985-89 and assistant director
for wildlife from 1989-92.
Williams holds a bachelor’s degree in environmental resource
management from Penn State, a master’s in biology from North Dakota
University and a doctorate in forest resources from Penn State.
Charles Benjamin, an attorney for the Kansas chapter of the
Sierra Club, said Williams is a good choice.
He said Williams’ politics were relatively conservative but that
Williams understood environmental issues. Benjamin said Williams
has been able to communicate the importance of environmental issues
to people concerned about hunting and fishing.
Turner takes oceans post
The Bush administration says it intends to name former Wyoming
Senate president John F. Turner to a top environmental job.
The White House says it will name Turner, a close friend of Vice
President Dick Cheney, to be assistant secretary of state for
oceans and scientific affairs.
Turner served as director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
under former President George Bush.
Property-rights advocates who foiled Turner’s chances for a job
in the Interior Department were disappointed by the latest spot
proposed for Turner.
“He makes us nervous, wherever he is,” said Chuck Cushman,
executive director of the American Land Rights Association.
“He never saw a piece of private land that he didn’t think could
be better off under the federal government ownership.”
He said his group would not fight Turner’s assignment in the
“We just wanted him to be where he’ll do the least amount of
damage,” Cushman said.