Steve Williams finally confirmed to FWS post by Senate

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Senate OKs Bush's Wildlife Pick

By Associated Press

January 29, 2002, 8:52 PM EST


WASHINGTON -- The Senate on Tuesday confirmed Steven A. Williams as the new leader of the Interior Department's Fish and Wildlife Service.

Williams, who was serving as secretary of the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks when he was nominated July 18 by President Bush, takes over the federal agency charged with conserving and protecting fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats.

Williams was confirmed on a voice vote in the Senate minutes before President Bush delivered his State of the Union speech in the Capitol.

He will oversee management of the 94 million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System and enforcement of federal wildlife laws, including the Endangered Species Act. He also will run the federal aid program that distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies.

Interior Secretary Gale Norton has described Williams as an avid outdoorsman with strong professional experience and leadership skills.

Williams has spent two decades working on natural resources issues but was fired from the Pennsylvania Game Commission in 1995 amid allegations of payroll fraud. He was dismissed from his job as deputy executive director after it was discovered that he had asked a subordinate to change payroll records, which temporarily boosted his salary.

He was never charged over the incident and has said he didn't know anyone was doing anything wrong. The Interior Department fully backed Williams for the job and said he was exonerated by Pennsylvania's attorney general and game commission.
 

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