Friday, January 18, 2013

Department of the Interior Secretary, Ken Salazar to Step Down

Ken Salazar has served as Secretary of the Department of Interior for four years. In those four years, he has shifted the Department from its traditional focus on resource use (i.e. mining, forestry, and oil and gas development) to a new focus on renewable energy. During his tenure, Salazar established 7 new national parks, 10 new wildlife refuges and blocked uranium mining around the Grand Canyon with a million acre buffer zone.

President Obama said in a press statement, "In his work to promote renewable energy projects on our public land and increase the development of oil and gas production, Ken has ensured that the department's decisions are driven by the best science and promote the highest safety standards." The President added that Salazar had accomplished all this and protected our public lands, water and wildlife.

Salazar is a fifth-generation Mexican-American who often spoke of his family ranch near the New Mexico border. In a statement announcing his departure, Salazar stated "Colorado is and will always be my home."

Salazar's departure coincides with the departure of Lisa P. Jackson, the Administrator of the EPA and the anticipated departure of Steven Chu, the Energy Secretary. These departures will leave climate change and energy posts vacant causing many to wonder about the future direction of US energy policy.

Angelica Oman
Graduate Program Assistant