President Bush named five sub-Cabinet appointees to the Interior Department last week, including the solicitor and Bureau of Land Management director. All ofthe nominees were acceptable to Western Republicans in Congress, even though thepresident's choice for undersecretary is a Midwesterner.
Deloy Cy Jamison of Montana was chosen to head the BLM. Jamison has been a Republican aide on the House Interior Committee since 1985.Eddie Frank Brown of Arizona was named assistant secretary for Indian affairs. Brown has served in the division of social services in the Bureau of Indian Affairs. He is a member of the Pascua Yaqui tribe.
Martin Allday, of Midland, Texas, has been chosen solicitor. Allday, an oil and gas lawyer, worked on three of Bush's Texas campaigns, most recently as a delegate to the Republican National Convention.
Bush is expected to name Constance Harriman as assistant secretary for wildlife and parks. Jamison and Harriman served previously in the department under Secretary James Watt.
Frank Bracken of Indiana, another early Bush supporter, was chosen undersecretary of the department. He was an attorney at Interior between 1969 and 1972.
The majority of the Interior nominees so far have been chosen by the White House, rather than by Secretary Manuel Lujan. In fact, several names proposed by Lujan have been rejected.
Lujan, who for 20 years was a House member from New Mexico, has repeatedly said, "I do what the president wants." If he has been at all unhappy with the nominees the White House has sent him, he has kept it well concealed.
The new secretary has been far more accessible and affable than Ronald Reagan's first secretary, James Watt, but has alarmed both sagebrush rebels and environmentalists by some of his remarks.
His apparent ignorance of Interior issues has bothered both sides in some disputes. He told one conservation group he saw nothing wrong with using BLM lands primarily for grazing. He observed to a group of reporters two weeks ago that the United States would get royalties from mining claims on federal lands. Actually, under the 1872 mining law, once a prospector patents a claim he gets full title to the land and need not pay the government anything but a nominal filing fee.
Whether Lujan is as ignorant as he sometimes appears is still an open question, but his manner has been one of openness to all sides of important questions.
Whether his early statements on an issue will be backed up by his decisions has both sides worried. In one example, he said last month he thought the Park Service was being too restrictive in wanting to keep the Halls Crossing airport in San Juan County closed to public use. So far, however, he has not resolved the conflict between the Park Service and the Federal Aviation Administration, which has refused to improve the field unless it is open to the public.