James Gaius Watt (born January 31, 1938) served as U.S. Secretary of the Interior from 1981 to 1983. Often described as "anti-environmentalist", he was one of Ronald Reagan's most controversial cabinet appointments. Watt's pro-development views played an instrumental role in ending the Sagebrush Rebellion.
James G. Watt
|43rd United States Secretary of the Interior|
January 23, 1981 – November 8, 1983
|Preceded by||Cecil Andrus|
|Succeeded by||William Clark|
James Gaius Watt
January 31, 1938
Lusk, Wyoming, U.S.
|Education||University of Wyoming (BS, JD)|
Watt was born in Lusk, Wyoming, the son of Lois Mae (née Williams) and William Gaius Watt. He attended the University of Wyoming, earning a bachelor's degree in 1960 and a juris doctor degree in 1962. Watt's first political job was as an aide to Republican Party Senator Milward L. Simpson of Wyoming, whom he met through Simpson's son, Alan.
A lifelong Republican, he served as Secretary to the Natural Resources Committee and Environmental Pollution Advisory Panel of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a pro-business organization that supports primarily Republican candidates. In 1969, Watt was appointed the deputy assistant secretary of water and power development at the Department of the Interior. In 1975, Watt was appointed vice chairman of the Federal Power Commission. In 1977, Watt became the first president and chief legal officer of Mountain States Legal Foundation, a public interest law firm "dedicated to individual liberty, the right to own and use property, limited and ethical government and economic freedom." A number of attorneys who worked for Watt at the firm later became high-ranking officers of the federal government, including Ann Veneman and Gale Norton.
In 1980, President-elect Reagan nominated Watt as his Secretary of the Interior. The United States Senate subsequently confirmed the nomination.
His tenure as Secretary of the Interior was controversial, primarily because he was perceived as being hostile to environmentalism, and endorsed development of federal lands by foresting and ranching, and for other commercial interests.
According to the Center for Biological Diversity, Watt had the record, among those who served as Secretary of the Interior, of listing the fewest number of species protected under the Endangered Species Act. The record was later surpassed by Dirk Kempthorne, a George W. Bush appointee who, as of August 27, 2007 , had not listed a single species in the 15-month period since his confirmation.
Greg Wetstone, the chief environment counsel at the House Energy and Commerce Committee during the Reagan administration, who subsequently served as director of advocacy at the Natural Resources Defense Council, argued that Watt was one of the two most "intensely controversial and blatantly anti-environmental political appointees" in American history. The other was Anne Gorsuch, director of the EPA at the time. Environmental groups accused Watt of reducing funding for environmental programs, restructuring the department to decrease federal regulatory power, wanting to eliminate the Land and Water Conservation Fund which aimed at increasing the area of wildlife refuges and other protected land, easing regulations of oil and mining, directing the National Park Service to draft rules that would de-authorize congressionally authorized national parks, and recommending lease of wilderness and shore lands such as Santa Monica Bay to explore and develop oil and gas.
Watt resisted accepting donation of private land to be used for conservation. He suggested that 80 million acres (320,000 km²) of undeveloped land in the United States all be opened for drilling and mining by 2000. The area leased to coal mining quintupled during his term as Secretary of the Interior. Watt boasted that he leased "a billion acres" (4 million km²) of coastal waters, even though only a small portion of that area would ever be drilled. Watt once stated, "We will mine more, drill more, cut more timber."
Watt periodically mentioned his Dispensationalist Christian faith when discussing his method of environmental management. Speaking before Congress, he once said, "I do not know how many future generations we can count on before the Lord returns, whatever it is we have to manage with a skill to leave the resources needed for future generations."
One apocryphal quote attributed to Watt is "After the last tree is felled, Christ will come back", although the statement has not been confirmed. Glenn Scherer, writing for Grist magazine, erroneously attributed this remark to the 1981 testimony by Watt before Congress. Journalist Bill Moyers, relying on the Grist article, also attributed the comment to Watt. After it was discovered that the quote was mistaken, Grist corrected the error, and Moyers apologized. Watt denied the attribution, and protested such characterization of his policy.
From 1980 through 1982, The Beach Boys and The Grass Roots separately performed at Independence Day concerts at the National Mall in Washington, D.C., attracting large crowds. In April 1983, Watt banned the concerts, on the grounds that "rock bands" who had performed on the Mall on Independence Day in 1981 and 1982 had encouraged drug use and alcoholism, and had attracted "the wrong element", who would subsequently rob attendees of similar events.  Watt then announced that Las Vegas singer Wayne Newton, a friend and an endorser of President Reagan and a contributor to the Republican Party, would perform at the Independence Day celebration at the mall in 1983. During the ensuing controversy, Rob Grill, lead singer of The Grass Roots, stated that he felt "highly insulted" by Watt's remarks, which he termed "nothing but un-American." 
The Beach Boys stated that the Soviet Union, which had invited them to perform in Leningrad in 1978, "obviously... did not feel the group attracted the wrong element." Vice President George H. W. Bush said of The Beach Boys, "They're my friends, and I like their music." Watt apologized to The Beach Boys after learning that President Reagan and First Lady Nancy Reagan were fans of the band. Nancy Reagan apologized for Watt. The White House staff gave Watt a plaster foot with a hole for his "having shot himself in the foot."
Mad magazine listed ten Watt controversies on the back cover of their October 1982 issue, under the title "Watt... We Worry!"; the list noted, among other quotes and actions, Watt's statement that "the Department of the Interior ... must be ... the Amicus for the minerals industry ... in Federal Policy."
A controversy erupted after a speech to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in September 1983, when Watt mocked affirmative action with his description of a department coal leasing panel: "I have a black, a woman, two Jews and a cripple. And we have talent."
Within three weeks of making this statement, on October 9, 1983, he announced his resignation at deputy undersecretary Thomas J. Barrack's ranch, near President Reagan's Rancho del Cielo.
In 1983 after leaving the Department of the Interior he lobbied the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Ten years later, Watt was indicted on 25 counts of felony perjury and obstruction of justice and accused of making false statements before a federal grand jury investigating influence peddling at the Department of Housing and Urban Development at that time. On January 2, 1996, Watt pleaded guilty to one count of misdemeanor of withholding documents and perjury. On March 12, 1996, he was sentenced to five years' probation, and ordered to pay a fine of $5,000 and perform 500 hours of community service.
In a 2001 interview, Watt applauded the energy policy of the Bush administration, stating that its preference of oil drilling and coal mining to conservation was just what he recommended in the early 1980s.
In 2008, Time magazine named Watt among the ten worst cabinet members in modern history.
Cecil D. Andrus
| U.S. Secretary of the Interior
Served under: Ronald Reagan
William Patrick Clark
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The legation was listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places on January 8, 1981. U.S. Secretary of the Interior James G. Watt subsequently designated it a National Historic Landmark on December 17, 1982. It is the only listing or designation in a foreign country, excluding those in countries that grew out of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands. The building has been listed on the U.S. Secretary of State's Register of Culturally Significant Property, a listing of State Department properties around the world that have particular cultural or historical significance.Beryl Wayne Sprinkel
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The FPC also regulated interstate electric utilities and the natural gas industry.
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James Watt (1736–1819), was a Scottish engineer and inventor of a revolutionary new steam engine.
James Watt or Jim Watt may also refer to:
James Watt junior (1769–1848), Scottish engineer, businessman and activist
James Cromar Watt (1862–1940), Scottish artist, architect and jeweller
Jim Watt (rugby union) (1914–1988), New Zealand rugby union player and paediatrician
James Russell Watt (born 1935), New Zealand rugby union player
Sir James Watt (Royal Navy officer) (1914–2009), British surgeon, Medical Director-General of the Royal Navy
James G. Watt (born 1938), former US Secretary of the Interior (1981–1983)
Jim Watt (boxer) (born 1948), Scottish boxer
Jim Watt (ice hockey) (born 1950), American ice hockey player
James Wilfrid Watt (born 1951), British ambassador
James Watt (loyalist) (born 1952), former Northern Irish loyalist paramilitary
HMS James Watt (launched 1853), steam- and sail-powered Royal Navy ship named after the inventor
James Watt College (founded 1908), Greenock, ScotlandJohn S. Herrington
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The Three Soldiers (also known as The Three Servicemen) is a bronze statue by Frederick Hart. Unveiled on Veterans Day, November 11, 1984 on the National Mall, it is part of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial commemorating the Vietnam War. It is the first representation of an African American on the National Mall.United States Department of the Interior
The United States Department of the Interior (DOI) is the United States federal executive department of the U.S. government responsible for the management and conservation of most federal lands and natural resources, and the administration of programs relating to Native Americans, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians, territorial affairs, and insular areas of the United States. About 75% of federal public land is managed by the department, with most of the remainder managed by the United States Department of Agriculture's United States Forest Service.The department is administered by the United States Secretary of the Interior, who is a member of the Cabinet of the President. The current Secretary is David Bernhardt, who serves in an acting capacity, and concurrently serves the in Department as Deputy Secretary. The Inspector General position is currently vacant, with Mary Kendall serving as acting Inspector General.Despite its name, the Department of the Interior has a different role from that of the interior ministries of other nations, which are usually responsible for police matters and internal security. In the United States, national security and immigration functions are performed by the Department of Homeland Security primarily and the Department of Justice secondarily.
The Department of the Interior has often been humorously called "The Department of Everything Else" because of its broad range of responsibilities.United States Secretary of the Interior
The United States Secretary of the Interior is the head of the United States Department of the Interior. The Department of the Interior in the United States is responsible for the management and conservation of most federal land and natural resources; it oversees such agencies as the Bureau of Land Management, the United States Geological Survey, and the National Park Service. The Secretary also serves on and appoints the private citizens on the National Park Foundation board. The Secretary is a member of the President's Cabinet. The U.S. Department of the Interior should not be confused with the Ministries of the Interior as used in many other countries. Ministries of the Interior in these other countries correspond primarily to the Department of Homeland Security in the U.S. Cabinet and secondarily to the Department of Justice.
Because the policies and activities of the Department of the Interior and many of its agencies have a substantial impact in the Western United States, the Secretary of the Interior has typically come from a western state; only two of the individuals to hold the office since 1949 have not been from a state lying west of the Mississippi River. The current Interior Secretary is Ryan Zinke, who was nominated by President Donald Trump on December 13, 2016 and approved by the Senate on March 1, 2017.Watt (surname)
The surname Watt may refer to:
Watt of Sussex, Anglo-Saxon king
Adam Watt, Australian boxer
Alexander Watt, British plant ecologist
Andrew Watt, American singer
Alan Watt, Australian diplomat
Allan Watt, Scottish sprinter
Ben Watt, British musician and music producer
Davey Watt, Australian speedway rider
David Watt (computer scientist), British computer scientist
David Gibson-Watt, British politician
Derek Watt, American football player
Douglas Watt (politician), Canadian politician
Eddie Watt, Major League Baseball pitcher
Fiona Watt (author), British children's author
Francis Watt (disambiguation), various people
Geoff Watt, Australian runner
George Watt (disambiguation), multiple people
Hamish Watt, Scottish politician
Ian Watt, literary historian
James Watt, Scottish engineer, for whom is named the watt, the SI-derived unit of power
James Watt Jr., English manufacturer, son of James
James G. Watt, US Secretary of the Interior
Jim Watt (boxer), Scottish boxer
Joachim von Watt, birth name of Swiss scholar Joachim Vadian
Joseph Watt, Scottish VC recipient
Joseph M. Watt, American judge
J. J. Watt, American football player
Katherine Christie Watt, Scottish nurse and civil servant
Kathy Watt, Australian cyclist
Lawrence Watt-Evans, American fantasy writer
Leslie Watt, New Zealand cricketer
Mel Watt, American politician
Michael Watt (disambiguation), multiple people
Mike Watt, American musician
Mike Watt (disambiguation), multiple people
Mitchell Watt, Australian track and field athlete
Mitchell Watt (basketball), American basketball player
Nicole Watt, Canadian skater
Norman Watt-Roy, bassist of Ian Dury and The Blockheads
Phil Watt, English footballer
Richard Harding Watt, designer of buildings in Knutsford, Cheshire
Robert Watt, Canadian herald
Robert Watson-Watt, British developer of radar
Sanchez Watt, English footballer
Sarah Watt (1958–2011), Australian film director
Sheila Watt-Cloutier, Canadian activist
Steven Watt (footballer), footballer
T. J. Watt, American football player
Tom Watt, Canadian hockey coach
Tom Watt (actor), British actor, journalist and radio DJ
Tommy Watt (1925–2006), Scottish bandleader
Tony Watt, Scottish footballer
William Watt (disambiguation), multiple peopleWilliam P. Clark Jr.
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