Environment: Pouring Oil on Troubled Waters

The new Interior chief launches a policy of compromise

When the ugly tide of black oil fouled the white beaches around Santa Barbara, Calif., in 1969, killing untold numbers of birds, seals and fish, few people were more appalled than William Clark. A top aide to then California Governor Ronald Reagan, Clark closely watched the progress of the multimillion-dollar cleanup that followed the oil-rig blowout, one of the worst environmental disasters in U.S. history. Today, as successor to the divisive James Watt in the post of Secretary of the Interior, Clark likes to recall that calamitous experience to let environmentalists know that...

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