Tag Archives: Ken Salazar

PEER: Time for a new Interior secretary

From Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, or PEER:

Dear Alan:

This week, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar apologized to a reporter he had threatened to “punch out” for asking him pointed questions about the scandal-plagued wild horse program. His frustration may be understandable, as the wild horse program is one in a corral-full of knotty problems that Interior has not resolved.  In fact, Salazar’s tenure at Interior has been one fiasco followed by another.

One of his first major decisions was to embrace the Bush “Drill, Baby, Drill” offshore oil program. Then the BP Gulf spill happened.  Salazar’s first reaction was to scapegoat his ownMMS Director who had been told to stay away from the oil issues and concentrate on alternative energy. Next, he broke up MMS in ways that kept the same pro-development biases in place.

Even today, Interior rushed approvals for Shell to enter Arctic waters without doing basic safety checks and still relying on industry self-certification.  Serious environmental concerns are still being suppressed. Agency approvals were given despite the fact that spill response capacity in the Arctic remains a big unknown.

Salazar is often mistaken for the Secretary of Energy but not just for pushing oil and gas.  His zealous pursuit of an “all of the above” energy approach appears to have left no resource un-bruised –

One central problem is that Salazar thinks he is entitled to cut deals with public resources like they are his to bargain away. Consider two recent Salazar forays into blatantly political deal-making at the expense of Interior’s resources –

  • He intervened to undermine a Park Service decision to deny a permit for a professional bike race that would close down part of the Colorado National Monument.  Despite the fact that the Park Service had rejected the permit three times, Salazar met privately with proponents to lay out a plan to do a new assessment, later saying the parks “need to be better neighbors.”

In his press conference on Wednesday, President Obama made it clear that the environment (at least climate change) would not be a second term priority. If he does not plan to spend political capital on the environment, at least his administration should not make matters worse.  It does not seem too much to ask that for the second term he appoint someone who actually understands Interior’s mission and will follow the law.

So despite the reelection, some regime change is definitely in order.  Help us bring it about.

Jeff Ruch
Executive Director

Interior grants permission for Shell to drill in Arctic

I can’t help but feel that this gambit by Shell is all about politics on the part of the Obama presidency – i.e., proof that the Obama camp wants to find and use domestic petroleum. What a joke.

Federal court to decide question of oil/gas leases near several national parks

Secretary Salazar was correct in canceling the leases of public land next t0 Canyonlands and Arches national parks and elsewhere. The sorrowful thing to keep in mind is this: It was Dubya Bush who opened the gates to leasing OUR public land. This brief article explains.

Feds set to block new uranium mining near Grand Canyon

News of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar’s solid decision is in this article. Proponents of the such mining operations, as is their usual case, neglect to even think about the pitfalls.

Exxon, Salazar in setttlement talks on offshore drilling

What’s to settle? You either stick with your guns (no drilling whatsoever) o you don’t. To all the laypeople driving around (often when they could be walking instead): The sooner you have to stop buying petroleum products like gasoline and motor oil the quicker we can clean up the mess we’ve been making now for many decades. And stop polluting. The NY Times has this piece on the “talks.”

GOPers slash Interior and EPA budgets as ideology blanket spreads

Especially notorious, in my view, in the current Inside-the-Beltway budget-setting process is the slashing of funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fun. Once again Congress is choosing to earmark this dedicated funding – royalties from offshore drilling — to other places. Special interests are winning, again.

Salazar declares moratorium on uranium mining near Grand Canyon

Some extremely positive news verified in this editorial from the Santa Fe newspaper.

Politics now intruding on real science

In the case of wolves, the Endangered Species Act, and Congress, it’s clear that political meddling is replacing real science. And even Interior Secretary Ken Salazar appears unable to differentiate between science and political meddling. The NY Times offers this editorial on the subject.

Quote of the day

“If we don’t invest in conservation, we’re taking away a legacy we’ve built up as Americans”

– Interior Secretary Ken Salazar

Western Repubs nearly hoarse after shouting to media about federal wild land thinking

Just mere words “wildness,” “wilderness” or “wild land” are enough, it would seem, to turn on the motor mouths of some Republicans in the West. Read about the tizzy.