Idaho Gov. Dirk Kempthorne (R) seems to be on the way to easy Senate confirmation to be Interior secretary. At Kempthorne’s May 4 confirmation hearing, most Energy and Natural Resources Committee members expressed support for his nomination. “It is my hope that we can get you quickly confirmed to this position,” committee Chairman Pete Domenici (R-N.M.) told Kempthorne, who served a term in the Senate before being elected governor in 1999. The panel was scheduled to vote May 10 on his nomination.

Kempthorne says he supports drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, but broke with Bush administration policy advocating the sale of public land to trim the federal deficit. “On the sale of public lands for deficit reduction—I do not support that,” he told the Senate committee.