Ken Salazar: Interior Secretary or Energy Czar?

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Ken Salazar is your new secretary of the interior. But “despite the title, he’s actually the de facto secretary of energy,” a petroleum industry source tells Alan Prendergast of Westword in the Denver alternative weekly’s April 2 issue.

“The Department of the Interior controls one-fifth of the land mass of the United States, and that land contains half of the country’s coal and a third of its oil and natural gas,” Prendergast writes.

The piece is the most detailed assessment we’ve seen yet of Salazar’s first two months in office, and while it’s ultimately too early to draw big conclusions–Salazar, true to his reputation, has so far displayed an “earnest, let’s-work-this-out centrism”–it does a good job of pointing out the challenges he faces as he makes grand pronouncements about “taking the moonshot of energy independence” and reaching a “New Energy Frontier.”

“He’s already presented glimpses of the kind of multi-layered agenda not seen since the dawn of the New Deal,” Prendergast writes. However, “true reform at Interior will require coming to terms with deep-rooted political realities that promote abuse of public lands and shortchange the public.”


Image by Mike Disharoon, licensed under Creative Commons.

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