WHAT WENT WRONG: Asked by his superiors to assess a proposal to divert water from the Klamath River to downstream farmers, Mike Kelly argued that threats to endangered coho and chinook salmon and other protected species made the plan illegal. He was overruled by the "God Squad," a committee appointed by Vice President Dick Cheney to allow emergency exemptions to the Endangered Species Act. The irrigation plan went forward, resulting, in 2002, in a river choked with 70,000 dead salmon.

THE HEAVY: Former Interior secretary Gale Norton and Cheney's "unseen hand."

THE PRICE: Faced with political interference, Kelly resigned in 2004 and now works as a private environmental consultant.