Thursday, January 17, 2013

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar will leave the post

Department of the Interior officials say Secretary Ken Salazar will leave his post in March. "I want to thank Ken for his hard work and leadership on behalf of the American people," President Obama said in a statement. "Ken has helped usher in a new era of conservation for our nation's land, water and wildlife."

Salazar spent his time as secretary focused on energy issues, including promotion of renewable energy, and dealing with the British Petroleum oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, Aaron Blake and Juliet Eilperin of The Washington Post report. He promoted solar energy projects on public lands, pushed for offshore wind energy development on the East Coast and has dealt more recently with wild-horse management on public lands. In the wake of the BP spill, he separated the leasing and enforcement functions of the agency in offshore oil and gas drilling.

Salazar faced opposition from the oil and gas industry, and to his efforts to create new federally protected areas of public land. In 2010, he proposed giving federal protection to areas with wilderness protections known as "wild lands." House Republicans created legislative language to overturn that policy, forcing Salazar to abandon it.

It's unclear who will replace Salazar, Blake and Eilperin report. But they write that interior secretaries generally come from the West, which has most of America's public land, and former Gov. Chris Gregoire and former Rep. Norm Dicks of Washington, former North Dakota Sen. Byron Dorgan, former Wyoming Gov. Dave Freudenthal and Deputy Interior Secretary David Hayes have all been mentioned as possible appointees. (Read more)

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