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Posts tagged: Dirk Kempthorne

Possible national monument designations in Idaho resurface

When he was secretary of the Interior under then-President George W. Bush, former Idaho Gov. Dirk Kempthorne worked on plans to declare two new national monuments in Idaho - the Boulder-White Clouds Mountains in central Idaho and Mesa Falls in eastern Idaho, reports the Idaho Statesman's Rocky Barker, and looked at others as well. Now there's new interest possible monument designations in Idaho, Barker reports, though Congressman Mike Simpson, who long has worked on wilderness legislation for the Boulder-White Clouds, prefers his bill to a presidential designation. Click below for a full report from Barker and the AP.

Former guv, senator, interior secty begins new gig as insurance lobbyist

Here’s a news item from the Associated Press:  BOISE, Idaho (AP) — After a quarter-century in public office, Idaho’s Dirk Kempthorne has officially rejoined the private sector as the top lobbyist for the nation’s life insurers. The former Idaho governor, U.S. senator and Interior Secretary became president and CEO of the American Council of Life Insurers on Wednesday. The group announced the hiring in September. Kempthorne succeeds former Oklahoma Gov. Frank Keating as chief executive officer for the group. Early in his career, Kempthorne was a lobbyist in Idaho for chemical maker FMC Corp. Now, Kempthorne and his staff will advocate for more than 300 legal reserve life insurer and fraternal benefit society member companies.

Kempthorne’s new gig: Insurance lobbyist

Here’s a news item from the Associated Press:  BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Former Idaho governor, U.S. senator and Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne is taking over as the top lobbyist for the country’s life insurers. According to a statement from the American Council of Life Insurers, Kempthorne will succeed former Oklahoma Gov. Frank Keating as chief executive officer and president of the group. Kempthorne and his staff will advocate for more than 300 legal reserve life insurer and fraternal benefit society member companies. The Washington, D.C.-based group says Kempthorne, who was elevated to Interior secretary by President George W. Bush in 2006, “will be a tremendous asset in advocating for an industry that plays a vital role in Americans’ lives.” Early in his career, Kempthorne was a lobbyist in Idaho for chemical maker FMC Corp. He’ll take the post Nov. 3.

Kempthorne to Congress: Big spill never expected, pressure was for more drilling

Former Idaho Gov. Dirk Kempthorne, former Secretary of the Interior under President George W. Bush, told a congressional committee today he never anticipated an oil spill as large as the BP spill in the Gulf of Mexico, but no one else did either, the AP reports. In fact, Kempthorne said when he testified to congressional committees as interior secretary, he was pointedly asked why Interior wasn’t doing more to expand offshore drilling, not less - questions that came at a time of $4-per-gallon gas prices. Click below to read a full report from the Associated Press on testimony this morning from Kempthorne and his predecessor, Gale Norton; current Secretary Ken Salazar also was scheduled to testify today. You can read Kempthorne’s full testimony here.

Among Kempthorne’s comments: “Until now, I have declined multiple media requests to comment in the belief America was best served by letting those now in charge to stay focused on job No. 1, of stopping the oil spill.” He said he agreed to testify “out of respect for Congress where I served for six years.” Kempthorne told the lawmakers, “I do not envy my successor. … It is easy to second-guess and criticize.” He noted that while he was secretary, royalty rates for deepwater offshore leases were increased twice. But, he said, “There had not been a major oil spill in 40 years.” All planning for future drilling, he said, will be forever changed by the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. “Never again will decision makers not include planning for events that might be low-probability events, but which, in the unlikely event they occurred, would be catastrophic.”

Kempthorne also addressed the scandal at the Minerals Management Service. “On Sept. 18, 2008, I unequivocally told congress that the conduct disgusted me and there would be prompt personnel action. Because that action was under way, I was advised by Interior’s lawyers that I could not discuss it in detail. Now I can, including the fact that we fired people.” He said, “Those involved were fired, retired, demoted or disciplined to the maximum extent permissible. The facts are that all of these actions were taken before we left office.”

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Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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