Who's Who on Obama's Green Team: Ken Salazar, Secretary of Interior

In the few months since Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar has had his post, he's already proved himself quite willing to rework the policies of the previous administration. He's revoked controversial oil and gas exploration leases in Utah, as well as oil shale leases . He boldly talks about the great renewable energy potential of lands under his department's jurisdiction. He also still places offshore oil drilling prominently on the table, but no one is perfect—and because of his record as a senator his nomination wasn't universally praised by the green community. Considering all that, here's some background on Ken Salazar and the path that led him to his current place on Obama's Green Team:

Long-Time Coloradan
Ken Salazar was born on March 2, 1955 and grew up with seven siblings on a Colorado ranch of that had neither telephone nor electricity. His family has farmed and ranched on land in what is now New Mexico and Colorado since the 16th century. He attended grade school in the community of La Jara, in south-central Colorado, going on to college at Colorado College earning a BA in political science. He then went on to earn a JD from the University of Michigan Law School. His Political Career
His political career began as chief legal counsel to Colorado governor Roy Romer in 1986. In 1990 he was appointed by Romer to be director of the Colorado Department of Natural Resources. In 1998 he was elected to be state attorney general, a position he held until 2004 when he ran and was elected to the US Senate. It was there that some of his actions raised concerns in the national environmental community.

In 2005, Salazar voted against increasing fuel efficiency standards for cars and trucks; and in the same year voted against repealing tax breaks for oil producers. In 2006, he voted to end limits to offshore oil drilling along Florida's Gulf Coast. In 2007, he voted against a bill which would have required the Army Corps of Engineers to consider global warming in planning water projects. Despite all that, Salazar received a lifetime score of 81% by the League of Conservation Voters, and 100% in 2008.

In His Own Words
The following two quotes spell out Salazar's position on energy, and while perhaps not indicative of his overall environmental record do indicate that on this issue he at least sees that there is more to energy than fossil fuels.

In a speech on the Senate floor, June 10, 2008 he said,

We need to be honest with ourselves and the American people about our energy future. We simply cannot drill our way to energy independence.

Though his actions so far clearly indicate that fossil fuels are part of our energy future, as are renewables, protection of wild areas is important,

While it is important to maintain a balanced approach to solving our nation's energy problems, we must commit ourselves to recognize some areas as 'off limits', and the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve is a national symbol of that commitment.

More: Department of the Interior, Time, Wikipedia
Department of the Interior
Dept of Interior Cancels Bush Administration Oil Shale Leasing Plans
Renewable Energy Development to be a "Top Priority" for Department of Interior
Dept of Interior to Re-Review Offshore Oil Drilling Plans
Controversial Oil & Natural Gas Leases on Utah Public Land Cancelled by Dept of Interior

Tags: Barack Obama | Natural Gas | Oil | Renewable Energy | United States | Wind Power

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