Industry likes Salazar at Obama Interior, not greens

Daniel Patterson’s blog has found a lot of quotes about Ken Salazar-

Industry likes Salazar at Obama Interior, not greens. Daniel’s News and Notes.

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So probably (I hope Buffaloed is right, another trial ballon)  a bad Secretary of Interior, and an

EPA chief whose toxics record was so bad she was criticized by Bush’s EPA, and now

there is renewed talk of former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack, the agri-business lackey for Secretary of Agriculture.  Just a few more like this and how are they different in philosophy than Bush’s people?





  1. kt Avatar


    Thank you for the Link to the good summary of everyone’s horrified reaction to rancher Ken Salazar at Daniel Patterson’s Blog.

    I just talked to someone in California who had signed a letter circulating among Ph.D. scientists opposing Salazar, there are several environmental group sign-on letters circulating, CBD has put out a Press release, and I received an alert from wild horse folks, who want Grijalva, too. It seems there is universal revulsion for Salazar – among everyone who is a non-consumptive user of the public lands. Only the ranchers and miners — plunderers of the public lands — can stand Ken Salazar. EVERYONE ELSE wants Grijalva, and real change.

    Grijalva sent out a Press Release today respectfully declining Pelosi’s offer of the plum House Ways and Means post, briefly explaining he was keeping that post to, among other things, stop uranium mining by the Grand Canyon.

    Maybe the question for the Blue Dogs is which is worse: Grijalva at Interior, or on the Public Lands committee in the House Public Lands Committee, which he has now assured the world he is not giving up for a backseat on Ways and Means.

    Just a thought: Do you suppose it wasn’t a leak from the Obama folks, but some kind of pre-emptive leaking from the Cattlemen/Industry that got the Salazar done-deal articles going yesterday???

    It seems to me there must be a BIG behind-the-scenes story on WHY so much drama over Interior.

  2. scifuni Avatar

    Why would the cattlemen want to leak this? Wouldnt they want the nomination to silently move forward without getting environmental groups mobilized to try to stop it? Obama needs to remember who got him elected. Environmental opposition to Sarah Palin could have accounted for a couple of percentage points in swing states. Will Obama earn our votes in 2012?

  3. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears

    scifuni Says:

    “Will Obama earn our votes in 2012?”

    He didn’t this time, why in the hell would he in 4 years, neither major party candidate earned my vote this time..

    Obama didn’t because I knew what was coming down the pike! I also knew that McCain was going to be about the same..I spent to much time working for government agencies to fall for their promises and bullshit…

    Vote independent…

  4. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears

    And to those bitching about Obama’s pick of Interior Secretary, take you pill and enjoy it, you voted for him!

  5. JB Avatar

    Another letter submitted to in support of Grijalva. I suggested they ponder the consequences of pissing off the Greens yet again–if they’re intent is to send 3-5% of the vote to go to Nadar, they’ve made a hell of a start!

    Save bears,

    Didn’t expect that kind of comment from you?! Aren’t you always advocating for the middle of the road approach?

  6. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears

    Sorry JB,

    But at this point in time, I am not middle of the road, I have listened to the rhetoric for the last few months and now am hearing that people are not happy with their choice…

    And if people would have listened all the time, they would have known this was coming..

    Now we have to live with “Change” Change of face, but not Change of policy, unfortunately..

    Again, I apologize, normally I do take the middle of the road, but at this point in time, I feel you reap what you..well you know how it goes, we have to put up with it for at least another 4 years.

    Obama is just another Washington Politician, he will screw us, just as the rest have…

    Vote Independent….

  7. Howler Avatar

    Salazar is the nominee for Interior. Opposing him will do absolutely nothing except help wreck the environmental movement’s standing with the new administration. It just amazes me how the environmental community continues to shoot itself in the foot. You want Grijalva? The last thing you do is start issuing press releases and signon letters urging his appointment. That just makes him look like he’s interest group captured. Obama looks at who’s supporting Grijalva and Thompson and goes and picks someone else, someone who appears to the average person to be more middle of the road. The community screwed Grijalva by “helping him.” And it’s doing a great job screwing itself with Salazar already. Bravo. Eight more years in the wilderness.

  8. Ralph Maughan Avatar


    Conservationists could shoot themselves in the foot by being nasty; but any group that does not push forward its views, its candidates and the people it does not like, is foolish.

    Most of your advice is not good advice, IMO.

    Once a bad nomination is made, however, groups should shut up about that nomination because there are many more positions to be filled.

    Yes, you can piss them off too.

  9. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    Save Bears,

    Like him or not, we have Obama. We will sink or swim with him in office.

    The economy is falling just as fast as it did in the Great Depression. Compare the statistics. If he fails, there won’t be much left in four years.

  10. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears


    I agree 100%….like him or not, we have him for at least 4 years, I just wish not so many fell for his speaking skills and would have looked at his leadership skills…

    I am more than willing to accept him as our president, I have no choice, but I sure don’t have to accept his double talk and his those who he promised change to..

    You worked withing the system, and should understand, as did I…

    Now however you cut the cake, he is the piece that has been chosen, hopefully he will lead us out of this.

  11. Ron Kearns Avatar
    Ron Kearns


    That is ridiculous–well, I cannot call it reasoning or thinking so I will say–“stuff.” Regarding all forms of politics—in elected and appointed positions—people cast their approval by voting or by speaking out and/or writing letters of support. You are saying that all of those tenured scientists who wrote letters of support helped ruin Grijalvas chances…pure illogical “stuff.”

  12. jdubya Avatar

    This is an interesting take:

    Implication is that energy concerns trump those of the environment. The issue is not whether or not to drill, but how to decide where to drill. With both Ag and Int as biofuels advocates, then expansion of oil and gas “harvest” allows us to get more energy independent sooner. This WAS a strong argument Obama made during the election and would have been more front and center if the economy had not crapped out. So if we are surprised in finding Obama is more interested in the political and economic (and national security ?) of energy independence and less on addressing environmental ills, then we probably just ignored the tea leaves during the election. Of course, any drilling agenda he and Salazar will champion would be a shadow of what Palin/McCain would have promoted.

  13. Brian Ertz Avatar

    looks like cnn & NYT are calling Big Ag Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack for USDA.

    I don’t have the heart to post…

  14. Mike Avatar

    Coincidence that the Ag post goes to a guy with a big political machine in Iowa which launched Obama’s primary run? Coincidence that The Dept of Interior post goes to a guy with a big political machine in a state that got Obama elected?

    So far, Obama’s public lands appointments don’t look like anything that the “good ole boys” club wouldn’t do.

    So much for change.

  15. jimbob Avatar

    This is why the Democrats cannot regain control long term. Obama does not realize that he got elected by the people who wanted to see change, especially in environmental policy (not to mention big business government access). Seems like he is following a business as usual policy so as not to upset the apple cart. If this continues, look for the Republicans to win again in four years. ANYTHING that smacks of “BUSHISM” (and the Salazar appointment does) is bad for all of us, including the Democrats!

  16. Howler Avatar

    Ralph, you say I’m giving bad advice, but I’ve been proved right. And the Washington Post indicated that Grijalva and Thompson were scrapped largely because of their support/opposition by enviros and sportsmen.

    Moreover, it appears some environmentalists aren’t going to take your advice either. Salazar will be named today. Yet they still want to oppose him. And there are indeed many more important nominations yet to come at Interior that deserve the community’s focus.

  17. Howler Avatar

    Ron — clearly you don’t understand the mindset of the transition team, which does not want to appear to be doing the bidding of any one interest group. It amazes me how little environmentalists understand about politics.

  18. Salle Avatar

    Looks like it’s gonna be time to get out and participate in sit-ins, marches and all that again, and soon.

    I don’t see where I will ever have a real income before I am forced into retirement due to age so, guess I better just hole up and be prepared to die poor, and hopefully, not too old. I’ve learned to live with never-ending indebtedness since Bu$hCo came careening into town, I don’t see it as being a failure anymore…

    I guess I just picked the wrong time to come to earth.

  19. jimbob Avatar

    I think Mike called it—see his post above. CAN I TAKE MY VOTE BACK? I will in four years…..

  20. Jim Macdonald Avatar

    Well, like Save Bears, I didn’t vote for Obama and expected a great deal of this. Unlike Save Bears, I’d urge people not to vote at all – or vote simply as a form of protest (which might be what “vote independent” actually means, given the way the system is currently constructed (where coalitions are forced to form before elections, and so even an independent elected is going to be a relatively lukewarm version of whatever she/he was).

    At the same time, this is disappointing. If Howler is right that Obama is not choosing people that people in the grassroots are actively screaming to choose, then the lesson isn’t to shut up, but to scream all the more. A system that forces people to play quiet, work the networks, play the game (like the silence you see out of the big NGOs right now and tepid words of support for Salazar) is nonsense. That’s no way for people in a country already without any real voice in the way they are governed to be forced to be. It may be smart politics in this system, but it says everything about the system.

    The reason that we should be disappointed that Grijalva wasn’t chosen and should be loud about it was that he was clearly the much better choice, and Salazar is not. And, if there isn’t a good choice at the top, why should anyone be happy about a token chosen at the bottom – say to run USFWS? Will that shut people up? Should it? Absolutely not. We should never shut up when there’s so much injustice being done on public lands, and throughout the world (and we should have been just as upset about many of Obama’s other choices for other cabinet positions – and perhaps the election of Obama himself, who has simply called for more war in places like Afghanistan – when I talked with my pacifist father, who also voted for Obama; he said he simply hoped he was being dishonest about it – well news flash, he was being completely honest!)

    This rage is important. The only thing I’d urge is that we organize around it and figure whether it’s Grijalva people want to organize around, or whether that’s simply the trigger toward a broader view.

    A lot of you – unlike so many other blogs online – are organizers. You guys get it. You do something, you work on putting groups together, you take action. It’s amazing. And, so all I am really saying is keep it up and use this to re-inspire you. Perhaps, it changes your strategy of change and action and therefore your tactics, but anytime there is an emotional response this strong, it should generate action. We and our world need that very much.

  21. Robert Hoskins Avatar
    Robert Hoskins

    The basic rule: endless pressure, endlessly applied.

  22. Pronghorn Avatar

    I pretty much agree with Howler (except for this: “Eight more years in the wilderness”–because he/she is using wilderness as a negative–I think). My initial gut reaction was that advocacy groups should have stayed out of it, but the Internet Age has changed everything. Then came the idea that Obama was putting Salazar out there just to gauge reaction–yet that runs counter to everything else his team has done–it has acted carefully, with thorough vetting, and without drama. I’m as keenly disappointed as anyone and would love to be wrong on this…but on the other hand, Salazar is not the anti-christ people are making him out to be. (He has an OK LCV rating and has sponsored bills and made votes that we would all agree with.) And if he DOES make some bad decisions, I’m counting on the idea that the citizens’ voice will be more than garbage can fodder, as it has been the past 8 years.

  23. Salle Avatar

    It seems, that different tactics will be necessary since the media isn’t much help and very few places for public comment, like blogs, are anything more than open rant sessions with little to offer in possible answers or functional options…

    I wonder what someone, like me, can do anymore. I’m too old for a lot of things I “might” have done in the past… I got my first taste of tear gas during Viet Nam war protests and am reluctant to go that route again for health reasons, and the cost of travel… I’m tired of being ignored or chastised for my attempts to shed light on reason…

    I now vacillate between a glimmer of hope and devastating depression concerning the path our country is on and how I might do something to initiate change for the better…

    I still think throwing, or sending, shoes is a good start… though I agree with Robert’s basic rule. Maybe I’ll just have to keep sending shoes until I run out of cash for sending them.

    Time for a good long walk out in a blizzard, it always seems to help calm my soul.

  24. kt Avatar

    Since the Obama people ignored the last-ditch efforts of a lot of people who were their strong supporters in the campaign to try to stop the nomination of Salazar to Interior, we need to be organized in opposition to this.

    Some people that called the Transition Team numbers yesterday and got to speak to a real live person were told by the Obama Rep. on the phone that yesterday Salazar was still “floated” to see what the reaction was.

    However, the Print reaction yesterday was Big Green group Reps. saying some sort of positive things. Industry (Ranchers, miners, some in energy) were cooing support.

    SO I think Demarcated Landscape got it right: Boos to the Big Green groups in this. Yesterday was their chance to have a Voice saying NO to Salazar – instead those groups have ENABLED this wretched rancher prairie dog destroyer as Interior Secretary.

    And there was a whole month or more for them to come out in support of Grijalva, and they did NOTHING in public

    At any rate, I firmly believe that we need to at every opportunity speak out against Salazar. No honeymoon. No “let’s put it behind us and go forward”. That is why Dems lose so splendidly on envtl issues – most are afraid to be fierce. And the ever-more pathetic Big Green groups like the Sierra Club and others are all about ACCESS to these politicians, getting an appointment to talk to them, being part of a deal eve if they really got rolled in that quid pro quo deal.

    If indeed the Interior nomination was not set in concrete yesterday, (and if it was, the Obama phone people lied to callers who asked), then the spineless Green Sell-out groups quoted in yesterday’s larger paper news articles helped set the Salazar nomination concrete.

    These are the same groups: Sierra Club, NRDC, TWS, etc. who NEVER showed public support for Grijalva. Remember that. They were afraid to even be seen in public supporting anyone at all. So meanwhile behind the scenes one can bet the Repubs. were screaming bloody murder. NO public expression from the DC enviros to balance and get beyond that.

    These are my speculations. I sure would love to hear (anonymously is fine) from some perhaps dispirited Big Green group folks about what in the world they all were doing diddling in DC while Salazar got swooped into Interior.

    Anyway, Time for the rest of us to start a BOOT SALAZAR FROM INTERIOR movement

  25. Salle Avatar

    Well, the big bummer announcement party gets rolling in about two minutes… I’m cringing.

  26. Jim Macdonald Avatar

    Already started and happened. Not exactly a speech that inspired much confidence – a heavy emphasis again on energy independence.

    The only thing I heard I really liked was the rhetoric about giving a serious voice to first nations – we shall see on that one.

  27. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    I mostly agree with KT and disagree greatly with Howler that being quiet is the way to go.

    As KT complains, the big green groups were too silent, hoping their contacts would pull someone good in and preserving their access.

    So Howler you see the don’t-talk-about-who-you-prefer tactic in action (or I should say “inaction”). You see the result.

  28. Salle Avatar

    I have decided to just scream out loud, in rational dialogue of course, about how disappointed I am about these selections. I was rather vocal for the past month and have decided that since I haven’t been listened to, as usual, I have no other option.

    This is supposed to be a PARTICIPATORY government, so far all I see is that those who have money can participate because money, after all-according to the Supreme Court-is equal to free speech and that corporations are citizens just like individual voters.

    I might be dirt poor but I will still make a loud noise until I am physically unable to do so. The air I breathe, the water I drink and my health depend on it, not to mention the other living organisms that are required for clean air, water, etc…

  29. Mike Post Avatar
    Mike Post

    I feel sorry for all you folks. I am mind boggled that such an educated and involved group would think that a man who came out of the machine politics of Chicago and Illinois was going to be the Environmental Messiah. He is part of the system. He is a fabulous orator and salesman. You bought the pitch. Now you feel dumb. Don’t feel too bad, it will still be better than the Bush years, it just won’t be this mythical Eden everyone has fantasized about.

  30. Ron Kearns Avatar
    Ron Kearns

    Howler, that is politics as usual. Mr. O “pledged” changes in that political arena also.

    Mike Post, I just could not bear a Sarah Palin and Li’l jonnie McCain….

  31. frank Avatar

    Obama has not served a day as Pres. Salazar has not served a day as Sec of the Interior. It seems a little early to turn on both.

  32. JB Avatar

    Okay, I’ve been giving this some thought…

    The “change” pledge was a brilliant piece of politicking. Nearly everyone was sick of Bush, tired of war, and dispirited by the do-nothing Congresses during the Bush years. In short, everyone wanted “change.” By not being specific about what “change” entailed, Obama managed to appeal to a wide variety of people with pretty disparate views about what kind of change would be beneficial.

    As much as I disagree with some of his appointments (most notably, Interior), he has provided a change of sorts. Instead of appointing the ideologues of his party (as Bush did), Obama’s appointees are middle-of-the-road collaborators. This represents a significant shift away from “politics as usual.” Ironically, it appears Obama is attempting to meet the pledge that Bush utterly failed to meet: to be a “uniter not a divider.”

    Don’t get me wrong. I’ve already sent the transition team several nastygrams regarding the interior appointment. But we may be unfairly judging Obama in claiming his appointments represent more of the same.

  33. Robert Hoskins Avatar
    Robert Hoskins

    Tout le monde n’oubliez pas: Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose.

  34. Barb Avatar

    I am so P-O’d about that idiot Salazar being nominated for Secretary of Interior! It is OBVIOUS that Obama knows NOTHING of preserving what’s left of our wilderness if he chooses a RANCHER with SPECIAL INTERESTS to lead such an important post!

    Scary — I’ve written Salazar so many times about wild horse and wolf issues; he doesn’t care about either issue! He’s a BIASED DOPE.

  35. Salle Avatar


    Oui, vraiment! En plus, il est triste.

  36. JimT Avatar

    I am reluctant to admit that we are stuck with Salazar for the moment. And while his record doesn’t speak well for what I would like to see happen in the West, perhaps he will let folks who run the constituent parts of Interior do their jobs and maybe his main contribution is staying the hell out of the way, and making sure the same old “politics first, science last” management philosophy is banished. Perhaps he will be content to confine himself to photo ops at the dedication of some new monument, or the removal of a dam on the Klamath. I recognize Jim M’s views, but I do think folks at the helm of USFWS, BLM, USPS, BIA, MMS, and Wildlife Services can make a hell of a difference even if Salazar is waving his hat around. We will see.

    Interestingly, someone in the Boulder Colorado paper today called for David Skaggs to be put in Salazar’s place. I think that is a choice worth writing Ritter about, and I have. Ritter is soliciting comments, so have at it.

  37. JimT Avatar

    Comments to Ritter can be sent to..

    No sense in yelling at him about Salazar; focus instead on forcefully making a case for your woman or guy, especially an environmental case. Be polite..~S~

    Wonder if he would have the cajones to appoint himself. I have heard from enough grassroot folks here in Colorado that both Salazar and Ritter were concerned about the next election; the conservatives are targeting the Governor’s seat and the Salazar’s X-Senate seat, scuttlebutt has it.


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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