Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Interior Secretary Salazar to step down

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, who overhauled the federal government’s troubled offshore drilling agency after the BP oil spill and locked horns with Republicans over energy policy, said Wednesday that he plans to step down by the end of March. Salazar, a former Colorado senator, did not announce his future plans.  “Colorado is and will always be my home. I look forward to returning to my family and Colorado after eight years in Washington, D.C.,” he said in a statement.  He touted his agency’s work on energy policy, and with Indian tribes on water rights, economic development and other areas. “I have had the privilege of reforming the Department of the Interior to help lead the United States in securing a new energy frontier, ushering in a conservation agenda for the 21st century, and honoring our word to the nation’s first Americans,” Salazar said.  President Obama, in a statement, praised Salazar’s “hard work and leadership on behalf of the American people” and said he “helped usher in a new era of conservation for our nation’s land, water, and wildlife.” But Salazar, who also frequently touts his support for oil-and-gas development, has drawn criticism from some environmentalists. Activists have attacked leasing for coal projects in Wyoming, and environmentalists were dismayed that Interior last year allowed Royal Dutch Shell to begin preliminary drilling in Arctic waters off Alaska’s coast. The future of drilling in Arctic waters will be a major question facing whomever replaces Salazar. More broadly, his plans to step down could usher in Capitol Hill conflict over any nominee to replace him. The array of potential nominees to succeed Salazar floated by Interior observers and published reports include former Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.), outgoing Washington state Gov. Christine Gregoire (D), former Rep. Norm Dicks (D-Wash.), recently departed Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer (D) and several others. Others mentioned as potential replacements include Deputy Interior Secretary David Hayes, former Wyoming Gov. Dave Freudenthal (D), and former Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter (D). A liberal coalition of more than 200 environmental, Hispanic, animal welfare and other groups has urged Obama to tap Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.), which would represent a move to the left for the department...more

The Interior chief's departure is part of a wider turnover of President Obama's energy and environment team. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa Jackson announced in December that she plans to depart sometime after Obama's State of the Union Address, which will be delivered Feb. 12. Energy Secretary Steven Chu is widely expected to leave as well, although he has not announced any plans.

So what are we in for?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Adios y gracias a Dios!