Gale Norton has three decades of experience handling energy, natural resources, and environmental issues. As Secretary of the Interior, 2001-2006, she played a key role in shaping national energy policies. A member of President George W. Bush’s Cabinet, Norton was responsible for managing over 20% of the land area of the United States, a Fortune-500-sized budget, and a workforce of 70,000 employees.
In the face of crises including the September 11th attacks and the War on Terror, increasing domestic energy production became a major focus for Norton’s term. She oversaw lands and offshore areas that produced a third of America’s domestic oil, natural gas, and coal. She was actively involved in consideration of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, offshore and onshore oil and gas production, coal mine leasing and reclamation, hydroelectric generation, as well as biomass, wind and geothermal development.
Norton led efforts that resolved 70-year-old interstate disputes on the Colorado River and instituted a west-wide water conservation program. She championed the President’s Healthy Forest Initiative and Cooperative Conservation.
Norton returned to Colorado as General Counsel for Royal Dutch Shell Unconventional Oil, 2007-2010. She was a member of Shell’s global legal leadership team, and handled legal, regulatory and governmental issues for Shell’s oil shale and in-situ oil sands projects, primarily in Colorado and Alberta.
As an attorney, Norton has handled multi-billion-dollar and high-profile litigation involving products liability, antitrust, taxation, environmental and constitutional issues, including arguing cases before the US Supreme Court and negotiating one of the largest lawsuit settlements in history. Norton served two terms as the elected Attorney General of Colorado, 1991-1999.
Norton’s background also includes serving as senior counsel at Brownstein, Hyatt & Farber, P.C.; Associate Solicitor of the U.S. Department of the Interior; Assistant to the Deputy Secretary of Agriculture; National Fellow of Stanford University’s Hoover Institution; and Senior Attorney for Mountain States Legal Foundation. Norton has a B.A., J.D. and honorary Ph.D. from the University of Denver, and an honorary Dr. Eng. from the Colorado School of Mines. She has chaired the National Park Foundation and the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission.
Norton is currently a Senior Advisor for Clean Range Ventures, an energy technology venture capital firm. She serves on boards for the Federalist Society, the Reagan Alumni Association, and the University of Colorado Renewable and Sustainable Energy Institute. She and her husband, John Hughes, are avid international travelers, golfers, skiers and outdoor enthusiasts.