The New York Times editorial page thinks Ken Salazar is too nice to head the Department of Interior:


The word on Ken Salazar … is that he is friendly, approachable, a good listener, a genial compromiser and a skillful broker of deals. That is also the rap on Ken Salazar.

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What the Interior Department needs right now is someone willing to bust heads when necessary and draw the line against the powerful commercial groups — developers, ranchers, oil and gas companies, the off-road vehicle industry — that have long treated the department as a public extension of their private interests.

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Conservationists and pretty much everyone else exhausted by the Bush administration’s ideological rigidity and deference to commercial interests have welcomed Mr. Salazar’s appointment. The Colorado Democrat has a solid voting record on issues involving wilderness and wildlife protection and can be expected to bring a strong conservation ethic to the top of the department.

Yet that will not be nearly enough to reform and reinvigorate the department. The Interior Department is an unusually balkanized agency, with eight separate divisions charged with managing 500 million acres of public land in a way that balances private and public claims. It is essential that Mr. Salazar find the right people to run each of these fiefs, and find ways to make them work intelligently and harmoniously in the nation’s interest.

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