It looks a lot like Ken Salazar as Secretary of Interior

He has cancelled events today, Tuesday and Wednesday-

He is a pretty traditional Democratic Party kind of nomination (assuming it is him).  He is a Democratic US Senator from Colorado, but Democrats won’t lose the seat because the Democratic governor has the power to appoint a replacement. Salazar is Hispanic, satisfying a category that was a plus for Grijalva.

Story in the Denver Post. Salazar poised to head Interior. Colorado’s senior senator is said to be a leading contender for a Cabinet post that is vital to Western issues. By Christopher N. Osher and Joey Bunch

NOTE: only the Denver Post has this story so far.





  1. Mike Avatar

    Lifetime 73 rating from LOCV.


  2. JimT Avatar

    Hope this is wrong. He is another in the long line of Western politicians who pay ALOT of attention to the the traditional abusers of the public lands..grazing, mining, oil and gas. If true, this signals to me that all of Obama’s talk about change didn’t include the environmental issues out here; same old same old, even if he is a Dem. Shortsighted in some ways by the Dems; sure they can appoint a Dem for this term, but it is very very likely that Dem will lose that seat in a future election, and we will be back to splitting the state’s influence again. The Repubs must be dancing in the aisles at this one. Ken seems to have a greased trail to these offices; I frankly don’t get it from an environmentalist point of view.

  3. kt Avatar

    And the League of Conservation Voters only tracks SOME Issues -primarily Energy. This is awful news. Another Cowboy Hat. For more years of gridlock.

    If Salazar really is a rancher, that should disqualify him from being Interior Secretary – public lands permit or not.

    Think of the outraged cries if a miner was chosen.

  4. outsider Avatar

    boy I sure wish I could get some of that change Mr. Obama had promised to everyone. 😉

  5. JimT Avatar

    Oil Shale is easy…the lack of technology means that even if the regs are in place..and there are legal challenges in the works, he knows an aggressive stand doesn’t cost him politically. No one is going to let that much water get ruined. Check his record on hard rock support for reform of 1872 Mining Law, the worst environmental law on the books and the ONLY one that hasn’t been changed since its inception. He is a supporter of public welfare ranching, and he is less than vigorous when it comes to protecting the Roan and other areas from oil and gas development. Notice his stand on the Roan was for phased in development, not hands off this rare ecological treasure.

    And then, his BROTHER gets his seat? What is this? Did Colorado suddenly morph into Illinois?

  6. vickif Avatar

    As a Coloradoan, Salazar is a disappointment. A hell of a lot of hype, but he is just lip service.

    Look for more grazing, kiss wolf recovery good-bye, bison are damned, and if you hike-get rubber boots to protect you from the manure you’ll be treading through.

    Shame, shame, the pit in my stomache is feeding nausea. I have already sent an email to, but appearantly it will fall on deaf ears. Mr. Obama, you disappoint me, and I expect we will be battling for eight more years.

  7. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    Well, so far it’s just the Denver Post

  8. vickif Avatar

    I think this may have to do with Salazar’s past dealings in the water arena. He was a facilitator in settling a few water disputes and kept the way of life people were used to in Colorado’s San Luis Valley, an agricultural sink hole with little other industry than ranching and farming-and vineyards.
    He dealt with negatitation with the Utes. But he was really interested in seeing ranching kept alive here.

    I can see why he was appointed, he will get many things passed. He will pacify many. He has dealt with tribal issues. But the expense is ours, and it is sickening when you look at the other possible appointee, Grijalva. Way to settle Obama, and placate the republican masses.

  9. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears

    Don’t mean to be anything negative, but the day after the election, I posted a note saying, that don’t expect Obama to be the great savior everybody said he was going to be, to many IOU’s out there for him to pay back. When it comes to the environment, top level politicians put it low on their priority list…and once again, this seems to be the flow of things…the environment is not the top priority of the majority of Americans, especially in times of economic crisis…

  10. vickif Avatar

    Save Bears,

    Too bad that most people cannot see that going green could be economic salvation. It could yield a boom of new and greener industry.

    I know that Salazar has been behind promoting conversion of some wilderness, it is easy to see why he would be chosen-although his voting record is not perfect, and I personally think he is ultimately motivated by “The Romatic West’s Image”-he has voted to retire some grazing leases and convert some wilderness areas.

    I guess he may not be the worst choice, but he is not the inspiration Grijalva is. He pales in comparison.

    Many folks said that if we all got our hopes up too high we would be let down. I doubt any of us are really that shocked. I am just saddened by the lack of insight shown if this assumption proves true.

    Obama may not be the ‘savior’ we wanted, but even on this note, he is a far better choice than some other options we had along the way.

    I think Salazar is more suseptable to conservationists influence than Thompson would have been. I am still just sickened by it though. I would have hoped for less of a ranching background for this position.

  11. JimT Avatar

    Like Ralph says, it is only the Denver Post, but the cancellation of events isn’t a good sign at all from my perspective.

    If this is true, then we got rolled again, folks. SOS, and I am not crying for help..~S~

    And if is Ken, that means no aggressive Solicitor…probably John Leshy who is a great guy, but an academic and his record from his previous stay is full of holes…It means, basically, better behaviors from the previous administration at the key agencies, but then, when Mark Rey and Norton are your benchmarks, that isn’t saying much.

    Tis the time of year for miracles, so maybe Grijalva will win it in a last minute stretch run.

  12. kt Avatar


    I had the same nauseous feeling. It seems that, in the face of the Bush Crimes Against Nature, we are getting pretty much a Placeholder. He’ll tweak things a bit – likely with much fanfare – but this fellow is not a mover and shaker – which is what is desperately needed now. If the Denver Post story is true, this is a sad day for the public lands. NO to Salazar!

  13. jdubya Avatar

    Jim T, you obviously don’t follow the stances of Utah politicians who are all in favor of oil shale, our faux democrat Jim Matheson included. These guys couldn’t give a shit about water, the land, runoff pollution or greenhouse emissions if they think the state could get some $$ from Shell oil. The vast deposits of this crap lie under the Colo and Utah border area, so Salazar taking his strong stance helped weaken some of the clout of Utah’s clowns. But the moratorium for development was still allowed to expire. So I, for one, applaud Salazar for standing up on this soap box.

  14. Salle Avatar

    One good thing about the economic nightmare is that oil shale development in Canada and proposed sites in the northern states have stalled for now. Partly because it isn’t viable to go for such expensive resources due to the current price of crude and that the mining interests can’t pay the workforce, and they probably can’t get credit to pay the daily costs of operations period.


  15. Jim Macdonald Avatar

    New buds growing on the tree of cynicism.

    It will restore my faith in the blank ballot I cast for President.

    And, will we all repeat this charade four and eight years from now?

    Or, perhaps, some will work for a Green Party candidate? *yawn*

    Electoral politics is an absolute sinkhole for so many reasons.

    Can the alternative work? I’ve been challenged on whether grassroots organizing and true ground up movement building can make profound change. I don’t know – that depends on us and how serious we are. But, when I look at the alternatives, I realize that there are no shortcuts, there is no quick fix. And, so, it’s hard, arduous, and faces every sense in such a vast world of injustice that we will fail, but it’s the only hope we have.

    The history of progress in society almost always shows the politics and the politicians moving last – not first. Obviously, with the wars and stagnation within the various social movements, it’s a long road. When woman suffrage split in the 1860s and 1870s over whether to insist on linking woman suffrage to black male suffrage, that set the movement back decades. We may be at that moment now – where some will insist on supporting the new government and some will insist on principles. But, we have to remember that politicians move last, that we must move.

    And, I’m hopeful that we will. So, while cynicism on one tree buds, optimism springs eternal on the only trees that actually bear edible fruit.

  16. Buffaloed Avatar

    This is what you get when you don’t ask for what you want. Are you listening Defenders, GYC, ICL, Sierra Club, and all of you other namby pamby nationals? Shame on you for another bad pick. I guess this will help your fundraising though. You can sell more stuffed animals and pretty calendars. That’s all you seem to be worried about.

    You had a podium but you didn’t use it because you might offend the whimp who would be appointed but it’s a self fulfilling prophecy. You get what you don’t ask for too.

    Save Bears, the problem with the “I told you so” sentiment is that it give the b***atrds cover so they can make these lousy choices and ignore the overwhelming support that Grijalva had.

    I don’t remember any support behind Salazar other than the apathy of everyone who didn’t stand up for the resource and Grijalva.

    I guess we have to keep working hard to make real change. I doubt the lawsuits will go away anytime soon.

  17. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears


    I didn’t expect anymore than what we are now getting, I listened and read between the lines when Obama was politicking and seen a familiar pattern developing, you don’t spend less than 8 years in real politics and attain the White House with out borrowing a LOT of favors, and I mean alot.

    I did not say, stop making your voices heard, but continue to voice your opinion loud and far…but working with the agencies for many years and being part of the politics of wildlife, don’t expect what you want to come to the forefront anytime soon, but it is worth the effort to continue to fight for change.

  18. Buffaloed Avatar

    “Senator Salazar has been a champion for Colorado’s farmers, ranchers, and rural communities, ensuring that the 2007 Farm Bill and our energy policy create food and fuel security for America.”

  19. Buffaloed Avatar

    I know what you’re saying Save Bears but tell that to the big national enviro groups who stood silent.

  20. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears


    I have pretty much stopped contributing to any of the large national organizations now a days, due to the fact, they have moved from the original intent of their founders.. I see most of them pretty much the same, they are BIG business, sucking at the tit of the taxpayers, and they have it good, not only do they get their donations on one side, they file law suits and get all their costs on the other side as well, then being none profits, they also get away with out being a contributing factor to the tax rolls…now to me that is a hell of a organized racket!! I support the smaller, regional organizations for their tireless work in their regions..

    I see very few of the bigs ones actually investing back into the environment, their monies get used to pay large salaries, retain expensive lawyers and promoting their agenda…and make it look like they are doing something, so they can milk the supporters even more…

    But that is just my perspective, both from the outside looking as well as being in a position with the State Agencies to work with them on the inside….and yes, I know it is a very cynical way to look at things, but it is only due to my experience.

  21. Buffaloed Avatar

    Is this the big announcement?

    Chicago Press Conference on energy and the environment

    Monday, December 15, 2008 10:00am EST / Posted by Dave Rochelson
    President-elect Obama will be holding a press conference on our energy and environmental future in Chicago this afternoon at 4 p.m. central, 5 p.m. eastern. We’ll have pictures and video after the event.

  22. Buffaloed Avatar

    Save Bears, I’m not venting at you. I’m just angry that it has come down to this. Our public lands can’t take any more of this. WE NEED REAL CHANGE. THIS ISN’T REAL CHANGE.

    BTW, I’m collecting shoes to send to Iraq.

  23. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears


    I really didn’t think you were, and I understand what your saying, right now it just seem to be one big (as we used to say in the Military) “Cluster F**K” and the public has been bamboozled by it, when people don’t understand or they get frustrated, the don’t do anything! and that is what I have seem from the majority for years now!

    I don’t know who the better politicians are, the ones in office or the ones in charge of the so called environmental groups!

  24. Phlogistician Avatar

    Sadly, even Mike Thompson would be better than Salazar.

  25. JimT Avatar

    He is announcing Energy and the WH Energy Czar who is Carole Browner. Both choices are good ones. I know and respect Carol, and the other guy seems to be on board with alternative energy development.

    Jim M, I am not sure it is fair or accurate to label those of us who are less than pleased with a possible Salazar appointment as cynics. Salazar is the mode of the same kind of “straddle the fence on the environment” politician that seems to thrive here when a Dem in elected. I think it is just looking at the man, his statements on the environment which carry huge qualifiers most if not all of the time, and calling it like it is. He may be a politically wise choice to make now since Ritter can ensure a Dem goes in the seat, but to me, if that is what happens, and John Salazar is appointed because he is Hispanic and palatable to the grazing and oil and gas and mining, THAT I would call cynical manipulation of the system and a big THHFT to the grassroot enviros who were told that things would be different this time around.

    I don’t expect I will get all of my picks, but what really concerns me is, from the outside, this incoming administration’s treatment of the West is not really different from other Dems..or Republs for that matter. We are here to be used for economic benefit, and those of us who think there is more to the West than a place to site well pads are shunted aside. They may yet still surprise us. There is enough mail and emails going to the Transition folks..if they do really read all the emails on, that they would have to be blind not to know there is widespread discontent with the signals.

  26. Robert Hoskins Avatar
    Robert Hoskins

    Maybe we need to start thinking again in terms of true, down and dirty grass roots activism. Signing on to the progressive enviro letter to Obama recommending he pick Grijalva for Interior was just a very small part of what we really need to do. We’re in the same boat as all progressives, regardless of the arena–health care, conservation, environment, economy, civil liberties and rights, international relations. Yes, it’s true we progressives are better off with Obama and the Democrats than with McCain and the Rethuglicans, but without a strong Green Party, for example, we’re more or less held hostage by the capitalists, centrists, collaborationists, and capitulatists. On the big issues, there is little to choose from between Ds and Rs.

    We begin the grass roots work by speaking and spreading the Truth. It’s always started there, and it ends there too.


  27. Jim Macdonald Avatar


    The cynic I was talking about is me, at least as far as electoral politics go.

    And, it would be impossible to please me because I have fundamental problems with our entire system of government. However, I had mentioned previously that Grijalva’s selection would have done something to begin to thaw that – (and a beginning of a thaw at that).

    So be it. We have better things to do with our time.

    I agree with Robert, only I’m not big on going down the Green Party route (though I was a registered member of the party when I lived in DC). I think there are better social movement strategies that don’t require us to define ourselves in terms of the electoral system.

    In the past year, I wrote an essay on what I call the “revolution of the small.” Perhaps, that gets at a little of the sort of strategies that I think will be helpful. For those interested, you can read it at .

  28. Robert Hoskins Avatar
    Robert Hoskins

    There are a lot of pathways to progressive politics and culture, of which the Green Party is but one. However, I agree with the overall approach of “green” politics–local and regional body politics, cultures of concern and community, ecological awareness and action. Bioregionalism. Has anyone read For the Common Good by John Cobb and Herman Daly? Well worth perusing.

  29. Ralph Maughan Avatar


    Ken Salazar is the US Senator, probable Sec. of Interior.
    John Salazar is his brother, a member of the U.S. House.

  30. Mike Avatar

    This big announcement in my town today might be the one.

  31. Rick Hammel Avatar
    Rick Hammel

    as a resident of Colorado 3rd Cong Dist. I have had dealings with Brother John. He is not favorable to the ESA as it stands. Whereas Brother Ken is more “green.” Ken was at least opposed to drilling in Vermillion Basin, a proposed wilderness area. He also is somewhat opposed to helter-skelter oil and gas drillilng

    If Ken is appointed to Interior, we have to keep the pressure on him constantly. to protect wildlife and wild lands.


  32. Brian Ertz Avatar

    An interesting article about how Salazar was one of a few Democrats to go to bat for Roberto Gonzales – licking Gonzales’ boots while he was being questioned about his role in torture memos… remained silent about the NSA wiretapping fiasco & the backslide on habeas corpus.

    The man is just the kind of DLC Democrat that makes progressives ashamed of the party.

    Still crossing my fingers that Salazar’s home-town paper is just whipping up a rumor.

  33. jdubya Avatar

    Latest AP list…..


    Sen. Ken Salazar, D-Colo.

    David J. Hayes, head of Obama’s transition teams for energy and natural resources agencies and former deputy interior secretary under Clinton.

    John Berry, director of the National Zoo

    Notice that both Thompson and Grijalva are missing…

  34. Wyo Native Avatar
    Wyo Native

    According to the Rocky Mountain News, Salazar was offered the job last week when he traveled to Chicago.

    Looks like we will be drilling in the Wyoming Range so we can tap into our Natural Gas Reserves.

    Way to go Democrats.

  35. vickif Avatar

    Actually, Salazar wanted off shore drilling opened up in order to spare Colorado from baring the biggest burden of more drilling. I doubt he’ll be easily pigeon holed, but more drilling won’t be the answer, no matter where it happens.

  36. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    Now there’s a story in the New York Times that John Salazar will be Sec. of Agriculture.

    Is this in lieu of his brother at Interior; or do we get both?

    Or neither?
    – – – –
    CQ Politics has already quashed the John Salazar rumor.

  37. Salle Avatar

    I wrote to the transition team last night, posted a link to the “Grijalva step up to bat…” thread and told them that I am so ashamed to call myself an American and find that each day gives me more reason to feel that way with the evidence, each passing day, that we only seem to stoop to new lows that I cannot even consider this a civilized nation any longer.

    And I mean it.

  38. vickif Avatar

    I read it would be Ken in the DOI, and his brother John would be moved to his seat when vacated.

    Maybe this is good. Maybe Ken blocked his schedule to support his brother.

  39. Buffaloed Avatar

    I still want Grijalva.

  40. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears


    Sorry to say at this point in time, put both hands out, want in one hand and you know what in the other hand and guess what, we are going to end up with the same as we have in the past.! Sure hope everybody is happy….

    Very disappointing day in the eco world..

  41. Buffaloed Avatar

    Obama just said there will be a separate announcement for interior. Not today.

  42. Dave Avatar

    I have a sick feeling in my stomach about this whole thing, but I think I’d rather see Ken at Interior than John at Ag overseeing the Forest Service, and I assume only one (at most) of those two things will happen. Too bad FS can’t be moved to Interior.

  43. steve c Avatar
    steve c

    CNN confirms it… Wonder who McCain would have picked.

  44. Pamela Rainsong Avatar
    Pamela Rainsong

    I’m so disappointed in Obama’s Pick for Secretary of the Interior.

    Salazar is Pro Drilling in eco sensitive areas. He poisons endangered Black Footed Ferrets and Black Tailed Prairie Dogs.

    Here’s Salazar’s Environmental Record
    As Colorado’s Attorney General, Salazar actively opposed endangered species listing of the black-tailed prairie dog, which, despite its population declines, is still listed as a “pest” by Colorado.

    In 2005, Salazar voted against increasing fuel-efficiency standards (CAFE) for cars and trucks, a vote that the League of Conservation Voters notes is anti-environment. In the same year, Salazar voted against an amendment to repeal tax breaks for ExxonMobil and other major oil companies.

    In 2006, Salazar voted to end protections that limit off-shore drilling in Florida’s Gulf Coast.

    In 2007, Salazar was one of only a handful of Democrats to vote against a bill that would require the US Army Corps of Engineers to consider global warming when planning water projects.

  45. JimT Avatar

    McCain? Mark Rey., or brought back Norton…yuck.

    All over the news. It’s Ken, and it is looking like it will be a family kind of thing with his brother getting his slot. I wonder if Ken gave up the Senate because he comes from an iffy seat, and he feared getting re-elected and got out while the getting was good. In any case, it is a done deal unless something comes up in the hearings. And Salazar will influence more straddle the fence, give industry the usual tithe appointments to be made.

    I knew someone should have gotten Obama in an airplane or on a raft to let him actually see the beauty of the West as well as what is being done to it. Lighthawk, where were you? ~S~

  46. kt Avatar

    Salazar is a disgusting pick. Shows the Obama Admin intends to continue the rape and pillage of the public lands, and gut the ESA.

  47. Mike Avatar

    Terrible pick considering the last 8 years.

  48. vickif Avatar

    people should begin their campaign to demand change or demand Salazar resign.

    We have got to demand that Salazar represent conservation and not ranchers-or he should be gone.

    can someone post a job description for DOI sec? I know I saw it recently….I am pretty sure it didn’t say “must be a rancher, and must represent ranching above concervation” which is exactly what we should beware of here.


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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