Interior Secretary Ken Salazar will step down from his cabinet position in the Obama administration and return to Colorado to spend time with his family, his office has confirmed to The Denver Post. …
“As I think about my role as secretary of the Interior, it is perhaps the most wonderful job of any cabinet position in the United States,” Salazar said in December. “I would not trade it for attorney general or Housing and Urban Development or Transportation because I would find those jobs a little boring.”
But the pull of family obligations — he and his wife are primary caretakers of their 5-year-old granddaughter who has autism and is enrolled in a special school — was too great to commit to four more years, Salazar’s office said.
The move was expected. Last November, we outlined who might replace him; among those mentioned so far today is Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire, who has been tapped as a likely replacement for basically everyone in the Cabinet and two of the four Beatles.
Politico outlines Salazar’s legacy on renewables.
Salazar has overseen the first major push to permit renewable energy development on public lands, with Interior giving green lights to dozens of solar, wind, geothermal and transmission projects. …
In late October, the administration used the approval of a Wyoming site for a 3,000-megawatt wind farm to celebrate the fact that a combined total of 10 gigawatts of renewable energy had won approval on public lands. That particular project still must go through site-specific environmental reviews. …
Salazar set up a solar energy zone program meant to help developers of utility-scale projects identify locations in Western states ripe for collecting the sun’s energy.
He also worked on moving Cape Wind forward as well as broader issues that have plagued offshore wind from gaining a foothold in the U.S., including moving forward on several leases and auctions.
We’ll remember Salazar for some of his other moves, as well, such as green-lighting Shell’s clumsy attempts to drill in the Arctic.
Which raises a key consideration. Cabinet members are largely not autonomous actors. Just as EPA head Lisa Jackson was forced to kill new ozone regulations, Salazar’s decisions on Shell and renewables were with the approval of his boss, Barack Obama. It’s likely, then, that whoever replaces him will follow a strikingly similar set of priorities.
In a statement released this morning, the president thanked Salazar for his service.
Ken has played an integral role in my Administration’s successful efforts to expand responsible development of our nation’s domestic energy resources. In his work to promote renewable energy projects on our public lands 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.
As much as any decisions are, I guess.