A petition started on the Whitehouse.gov website yesterday is urging President Obama to appoint Congressman Raul Grijalva as the next Secretary of Interior.  As of this writing there are 704 signatures on the petition but the petition needs to receive 25,000 signatures by December 31st, 2012 before it will merit an official response by the White House.

The petition reads:

Appoint Congressman Raul Grijalva as the 51st Secretary of the Interior
The selection of the next Interior Secretary is an important moment to place renewed emphasis on some of the most critical issues of our age – climate change, the protection of endangered species and preservation of water and wild lands. As ranking member and former chair of the House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands, Rep. Grijalva has been an effective leader on conservation and land management issues. His expertise with Native Americans issues, his strong understanding of border issues, his pragmatic conservation ethic, and his wealth of experience in addressing funding challenges make him an exceptional choice. We urge you to select him as our next Interior Secretary because he embraces the urgency of this mission and practical paths toward real-world solutions.

You can create a profile and sign the petition here:

Appoint Congressman Raul Grijalva as the 51st Secretary of the Interior | We the People: Your Voice in Our Government.

 
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About The Author

Ken Cole

Ken Cole, Western Watershed Project’s National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Coordinator, is a 5th generation Idahoan, an avid fly fisherman, wildlife enthusiast, and photographer. He is also serves as a member of the board of directors for Buffalo Field Campaign and as a member of the Sierra Club Grazing Core Team. He can be reached via email at: ken@westernwatersheds.org

29 Responses to Petition to Appoint Congressman Raul Grijalva as the 51st Secretary of the Interior

  1. avatar Ralph Maughan says:

    I see there is less speculation now that Salazar will leave. Supposedly there was pressure from his family to come home, but that is such a common excuse there is no way for the average person without inside information to judge it.

    The President knows that there is going to be a huge fight over the filibuster when the new Congress convenes. If the Democrats win the fight and change the rules to make it harder to filibuster (such as requiring those filibustering to actually hold the Senate floor and talk), the Republicans threaten to shut down the Senate. The Democrats threatened the same when they were in the minority and using the filibuster to block Republican legislation. That’s way filibuster reform is often called “the nuclear option.”

    In the Senate angry Senators have many ways to disrupt proceedings, and any replacement for any job that requires a confirmation by the Senate might be nearly impossible to achieve.

    In DOI, it might be best if Salazar left and Obama just let the next in line, be the acting Secretary of Interior indefinitely — not even bother to nominate someone new.

    • avatar WM says:

      Ralph,

      Not to put too fine a point on it, but I suspect Grijalva has some skeletons in his closet from his time as a Hispanic activist that will be fodder for those who would challenge his appointment in Senate confirmation hearings. This may very well be one reason he was passed over before, and may be again.

      I don’t know what his credentials are to run a huge department like DOI, or knowledge of substantive areas other than as a politician/subcommittee chair based on seniority with a little party backing. Running DOI would be alot different than being a Congressman. He would have to surround himself with smart and organized people (not unlike a mostly affable but technically challenged President Reagan).

      His appointment over other potential candidates is a longshot, at best.

      • avatar Ralph Maughan says:

        WM,

        I would not be surprised.

        However, given the emerging position of the Republican Party, of what seems close to political war, it may be that no one nominated by the President would be found to not have some taint except a right wing Republican.

        Susan Rice, who I don’t like because she owns lots of stock in TransCanada is a prime example. There is essentially no relationship between her and the attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya. Nevertheless, it will be very hard to get her confirmed Secretary of State. It will be hard to scare up Republican votes and he will probably lose from 5 to 10 easily frightened Democrats. It will be that way for every departing cabinet member after filibuster reform and fight over the “fiscal (you name it)” that will probably begin Jan. 1.

        That is why I wrote about moving already serving people to be permanent “acting” secretaries.

        • avatar WM says:

          Ralph,

          I wonder if a move of a senior executive in USDA over to Secretary of Interior would work the same? I have been a fan of Harris Sherman, who oversees the USFS as Undersecretary of Agriculture responsible for Natural Resources and Environment. He has already been vetted before the Senate, so one would think his would be a likely rubber stamp confirmation. He is a well respected attorney (once with Arnold & Porter) and former head of CO DNR, and the architect of their successful roadless area plans. He is not a rancher, and has pretty credible environmental roots even when he chaired the CO oil and gas commission.

          I have no idea whether he aspires to more than what he already has. I have not heard his name mentioned, althoug he has the credentials.

          http://www.usda.gov/documents/HSherman_Bio.pdf

          • avatar Ralph Maughan says:

            WM,

            I have been searching because I don’t really know, but I think an “acting” has to have been confirmed by the senate to their current office in order to rise to be “acting” in a vacant higher office, and they have to also be of the same agency.

            I am by no means certain.

  2. avatar Ida Lupine says:

    I wondered about Senate challenges. He’d be my choice tho.

    Who would be next in line – the Deputy Secretary?

    • avatar Ralph Maughan says:

      Ida Lupine,

      Yes. It is David Hayes the Deputy Secretary of Interior. Hayes current position required a Senate vote of confirmation. Not unexpectedly back in 2009, Republicans led a filibuster against him that was barely overcome.

      When Dubya’s Secretary of Interior Gale Norton resigned to become an oil lobbyist, the Deputy, Lynne Scarlett, was acting secretary until they brought out Dirk Kemphorne Idaho’s then governor.

      • avatar Mark L says:

        Damn, I’d pay good money to see Hayes in there if it was possible. Just me though.

        • avatar WM says:

          Hayes might be a good pick if he hasn’t done anything more to tick off the R’s since his last confirmation hearing when he was appointed Assistant Sec. in 2009. However, his earlier appointment during the Babbitt/Clinton era does involve some baggage that tags along. Another candidate with great credentials.

          • avatar WM says:

            One might suppose another liability of Hayes is that he is a DC professional bureaucrat – academic, and linked to a big law firm; he is also apparently a CA boy, if he has any geographic leanings. He has no practical connections to the West, as an elected official or state department head who understands problems those 17 state face. He just writes about it. Number 2 at Interior may be the ceiling for him, because of those perceived resume deficiencies, which could translate to votes against (ex: Harry Reid voted against his confirmation) – he is obviously a bright guy, though, and has the long term interest of the country in his value set.

  3. avatar Jim says:

    I think we should let Gregoires office know that we will fight against her nomination as DOI, just to let her know what we think of her past record on free grazing for ranchers and loss of habitat.
    She is on Facebook too where you can leave comments.
    I see her ocean acidification project funded 2 million for research but left no money available as she exits. Just another ploy. What an ass.

    • avatar WM says:

      ++What an ass.++

      If you think about, Gregoire’s Eastern WA pilot project on grazing was just that – a pilot project. She was looking for votes in 2008 when this began. Guess a picture of her with a cowboy hat couldn’t hurt in E. WA and among rural voters. If you think about it, you could have had Rossi for 4 years (or maybe even 8), then where would the stuff you care about be today? Also, ever give any thought to the fact she is trying to close revenue shortfall for the budget in recent years, so the ocean acidification stuff had some potential to go away? But then, there is this. http://www.bizjournals.com/seattle/news/2012/11/27/gov-gregoire-addresses-water-acidity.html

      She is no one trick pony; she is the real deal dispite the crap she takes from some on this forum.

      • avatar Jim says:

        She never left any funding for the ocean acid program, all she did was help break the state.

        • avatar Ida Lupine says:

          That is getting scary. Shellfish aren’t able to develop shells properly and entire industries could collapse. It’s happening on my side of the country also. I watched a news report about it last night, and I was shocked.

      • avatar Jim says:

        Yes, she did great, the pilot cost $80,000 for new fences that aren’t being used, $400,000 that went to WSU for a bunch of shit monitoring, and an huge increase in weeds on the area.
        Then she allowed the WDF to purchase a 10 million dollar ranch near the Blue mts and specifically included in the deal that cattle will be priority on the ranch, with you the tax payer not having any say in those stipulations.
        Thats why the state is broke

        • avatar WM says:

          Actually, I think the state is broke because of the Wall St. melt down and the sale of toxic morgages of people that shouldn’t have been given loans in the first place, Boeing took more jobs to S. Carolina, lumber prices dropped, businesses and manufacturing industries stopped capital spending because consumers weren’t buying their products, pension funds went underfunded because of the meltdown, and all that resulted in huge tax revenue shortfalls from B&O taxes, property taxes due to depressed values, and lost sales tax revenues causing local and state governments to tighten their belts after gorging on years of excess. Don’t be an idiot and try to pin that on a sitting Governor of any state. You show your ignorance and stupidity when you make such statements.

          Furthermore, if you are referring to the 4-0 Ranch purchase by WDFW, it preserves the land with FWS ESA Coop matching grant funds(current land uses can always change in the future,so cows might not be in the picture decades from now, but with a private purchase by someone else MIGHT). And, that is the part someone with half a brain and vision would focus on.

          • avatar Savebears says:

            Being honest with you WM, I am quite surprised at your position on Christine?

            • avatar WM says:

              SB,

              I have followed Gregoire’s career from the time she was director of WA Dept of Ecology, thru her run as two term AG, then the two terms as Governor. During that entire time, going from a respected assistant AG, then a bureacrat to the highest levels of elected office in WA, she has been a straight shooter, with the best interests of the residents of the state of WA in mind. No hidden agenda for the private sector, and to my knowledge not letting the D party dictate her direction, though she is a D, for sure. She has obviously done something right.

              Frankly I don’t know the details of the grazing stuff that bothers WWP, which resulted in a couple losses for WA in court, and maybe spending a couple hundred thousand dollars in a way that was less than desirable on some model grazing leases. Seems to me no reason to toss the baby out with the bath water.

              The only major disagreement that has caused me grief is supporting the very costly replacement of the Alaska Way Viaduct thru Seattle’s water front, with a VERY costly tunnel, and leaving the price tag open ended for Seattle residents by generally capping how much the state Department of Transportation would kick in. Of course all of this stuff involving money expenditures, including the purchase of the wildlife/cattle ranch “Jim” above doesn’t like involves legislature concurrence/fund appropriation, and the Wildlife Commission (I also think she held up a couple of Commission appointments so their terms could run longer in case the next governor was not so environment friendly (ie., if McKenna had beaten Inslee). So, there are others to share blame, if there is any.

              What is your objection to her? Or actually, what are some details of your Father’s concerns, which I gather color your views, since you are a MT resident?

              • avatar Savebears says:

                I will compile a list and send it to you, even though a MT resident, I spend a lot of time working with agencies in WA. As I went to school in WA, was raised in WA, I still pay a lot of attention to what goes on in WA.

                My wife is a Montana Native, I am a Washington Native.

  4. avatar Salle says:

    Petition needs more signatures.

  5. avatar Amelie says:

    Great petition.

    Ken, go to WordPress.com and search for Ken Salazar. There you’ll find a huge number of horse advocates who are rabidly trying to get Salazar kicked out. Also nine THOUSAND people signed this petition, I’d like to find out who managed to get so many signatures there so quickly.

    http://www.petition2congress.com/2710/ken-salazar-secretary-blms-resignation/

  6. avatar Theo says:

    The petition lists in part “protection of endangered species and preservation of water and wild lands” as a Grijalva attribute. However his full throated defense of feral livestock on public lands is in direct contradiction to this claim and reveals a serious lack of understanding of those endangered species, water, wildlands and even basic ecology. In 2008 I actually manned phone banks in his Tucson office in support of he and Obama, but I cannot support him for Sec. of Interior.

    • avatar Ralph Maughan says:

      Theo,

      I haven’t written much about it lately, but I think Salazar is staying on. The failed attempt, or trial balloon, or whatever of Susan Rice, tells me that Obama will have a horrible time getting any nominee through the Senate unless the filibuster is killed or at least modified. Coupled with the nasty fight over the fiscal cliff, he would probably be wise to keep everyone in place if he can. If he can’t, he should move up their deputy as “acting” Secretary or “acting” assistant secretary, etc.

      American government is as close to broken as anytime since the Civil War and I think nothing positive is going to get done for at least two years and maybe forever.

      • avatar Theo says:

        Ralph- I sadly must agree with you fully on the state of American government. It is my understanding Democrats could kill the filibuster but I don’t think they lack the courage. I understand doing so could come back to haunt us but I’m willing to risk it so that SOMETHING could actually get done.

        And back to Grijalva, has he done or said or proposed anything that would make you think he understands the problems created by livestock grazing?

        • avatar Theo says:

          Oops, I meant I DO “think they lack the courage”.

          • avatar Ralph Maughan says:

            Theo,

            Regarding the filibuster, we can’t go this way or the government will slowly collapse. On the other hand, the Republicans can make the Senate almost non-functional in other ways in reprisal. That is why changing the filibuster is called the “nuclear option.” If the Republicans do respond that way, both the Senate majority and the President are going to have to work together to make it so hard on the Republicans that they relent. The President will have to come close to acting extra-constitutionally. After all, Harry Reid is not trying to abolish the filibuster, but simply make it so that some things can’t be filibustered and so that the same bill can’t be filibustered multiple times.

        • avatar Ralph Maughan says:

          Theo,

          I wasn’t aware of there being any problem with Grijalva and grazing, but then Ken Cole might have something to say or Brian Ertz who knew him (or something like that). As you know Brian was one of our webmasters her for a long time, but is now embarked on law school.

          • avatar Josh Osher says:

            As someone who knows Raul Grijalva personally and has worked with several of his staff members for many years, I can assure you the he has a very clear understanding of the problems and complex issues related to livestock grazing on public land. If you visit his office in Washington, you would see on his bookshelf in the reception area, a copy of the book “Welfare Ranching” prominently displayed. I would bet that it the only copy in any Congressional office on Capitol Hill.

            I have personally worked with Mr. Grijalva’s office on a number of issues related to grazing and the impact on specific wildlife. He is certainly no friend of the ranchers and is committed to protecting wildlife and wild places. There is no one in this Congress who would make a better Secretary of Interior that Raul Grijalva.

            • avatar Theo says:

              Thanks for this testimonial Josh. I’m still reluctant to give him my full support based on the feral livestock issue, but I do view him in a better light now.

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‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey