Interior Secretary Salazar under fire

By David O. Williams
Real AspenJuly 12, 2010
Ken Salazar

You know you’re having a bad month or two at the office when the calls for your head are coming from both the left and the right. Interior Secretary and former Colorado Sen. Ken Salazar increasingly finds himself in that unenviable position these days.

More than 100 scientists and environmental groups recently signed a WildEarth Guardians letter calling for President Barack Obama to oust Salazar for his failure to clean house at the Minerals Management Service and possibly prevent the growing Deepwater Horizon-British Petroleum oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Other environmental groups, according to the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, are still backing Salazar for doing more to balance environmental concerns and energy development demands than any interior secretary in the last 25 years.

Still, Salazar’s “new sheriff in town” proclamation in Lakewood last year, when he vowed to clean up the MMS in the wake of a drugs, sex and influence-peddling scandal, are coming back to haunt him. Even Republicans such as Colorado Rep. Mike Coffman are using that one against him.

But Salazar maintains he inherited eight years of entrenched “drill, baby, drill” bureaucracy from the Bush administration – a mess it will take some time to clean up. Since his appointment late in 2008, though, conservation groups have been somewhat divided on Salazar’s past record and his potential to reform deeply entrenched pro-industry policies.

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