Obama Names Salazar As Secretary of Interior

Salazar decribed as a “moderate” and a “broker”-

From WaPo. Obama Names Salazar As Secretary of Interior. By Juliet Eilperin, Phil Rucker and Dan Morgan.

That is so offensive to hear him described as “a fifth-generation Coloradan whose family settled in the West before the United States’ founding and has ranched and farmed on the same land in the San Luis Valley for more than a century. . . .”

They could say the same about me, but me and most of my relatives seem to have lost our political importance when we didn’t ranch.

– – – –

Ritter promises quick decision on Salazar seat. Politico.

Has anyone thought that Obama might have wanted a more reliable vote in the US Senate than Salazar?





  1. jdubya Avatar

    From NT Times:

    Obama Wants ‘Proactive’ Interior Department

    Filed at 12:03 p.m. ET

    CHICAGO (AP) — President-elect Barack Obama says he’s envisioning a ”more proactive” Interior Department, led by Ken Salazar.

    As he announced the Colorado senator as his choice for interior secretary Wednesday, Obama said there’s been too much emphasis on ”big-time lobbyists in Washington” instead of ”what’s good for the American people.” He says that will change under Salazar.

    Obama says the department shouldn’t see its job as sitting back and waiting for those with the most access in Washington to come and take what they want.

    Instead, he says, he wants a department that gets input from farmers, ranchers and others, and is at the ”cutting edge” of environmental and energy policy. He says commercial interests will be just one group of many that will be listened to.

  2. Maska Avatar

    Are farmers and ranchers not “commercial interests”? I’d like to hear about the “others” to whom the department will presumably listen.

  3. kim kaiser Avatar
    kim kaiser

    and the hits just keep on coming,!!!!

    you get what you pay for,, and in this case,,apparently, the enviormental movement didnt put up the cash,, the farmers did and the ranchers did and the commercial farm operators did and the timber people did.

    and you are surprised Husssien didnt make an emotional decision vs a monetary contribution decision… remember,,, his first tip off on that was he crawfished on public campaign finance,,,so he owes a lot of people a LOT of favors, and i suspect the favor list has the ag/ranch/timber/ industries way over the enviromental.

    hate to say i told you so,,,,he is the same as blogdogich, jsut a diferent color and speaks a better speech,,,

  4. kt Avatar

    Oh. How awful. Obama either has no clue, or finds it politically expedient to have no clue – Which is what I am more and more thinking is the case, about the environmental toll and environmental destruction caused by 20,000 welfare ranchers in the entire West. Does he really have no idea how much damage each of these big-hatted increasingly corporate (and often now Frontmen for the real ranch permit owners – the land speculators, hobby ranchers, gold mines, SNWA/Las Vegas, etc.) Cattlemen do?

    Is Obama going to try to use ranchers as Coverboys to promote cutting public lands deals on energy. If this is going to be about All energy, all the time – I wonder. The foreign-owned Big Wind companies like RES UK gush to ranchers about how wind turbines and cows go so splendidly on mountain tops on BLM public lands.

    Look at how NV voted – wasn’t it Obama won by a 13% margin over McCain? Well, there are only 500 (and by the time I write this as Vegas or the mines buys out more of the permits) likely fewer public lands ranchers in the entire state -perhaps 2 of whom cast votes for Obama. He is licking their boots, and there must be reason for it.

  5. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    His comments sound like typical politician blather. Read into them what you will.

    Because they are ambiguous remarks I like to think he spoke favorably about farmers and ranchers’ input because he wanted to reassure them, and then do something else.

    His “team of rivals” was certainly not true, nor would a President really want a team of rivals. What a President needs is a variety of advice, and not a hall of mirrors like George W. However, you can’t go wrong talking up Abe Lincoln and carrying around a book about him.

    So this is a less negative read about this ambiguous statement.

  6. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    Remember that the lower level nominations do the real policy implementation.

    We will know what Obama means for sure when we see the assistant secretaries and deputy assistant secretaries.

  7. Ron Kearns Avatar
    Ron Kearns

    Mr. Obama did not just betray those Democrats who were so vocal and supportive, he betrayed those Republicans like me who knew change was essential for our economic and environmental survival.

    A black Republican strategist just stated (paraphrased) that Republicans are elated with Obama’s cabinet picks because Obama’s message of change was a change that was *very familiar*!

  8. Salle Avatar

    Time will tell…

  9. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    His nominations so far impress me as people who will follow his direction without a strong agenda of their own (exception of Hillary Clinton).

    Grivalva had a strong policy orientation. We liked that. It probably hurt him.

  10. Mike Avatar

    Rob – do you have a link for the comments by the Republican strategist? Thanks.

  11. Ron Kearns Avatar
    Ron Kearns

    The comments were on a Yahoo video link that I followed which led to a discussion of Obama’s cabinet and then the Salazar tape played. I will try to find the video and you might also. It displayed all of the cabinet selection to date, but before Salazar.

  12. April Clauson Avatar
    April Clauson

    A few quotes from Obama regarding this topic:

    For the agriculture and interior departments — which oversee federal farming and lands policies — Obama said his approach will be to “serve not big agribusiness or Washington influence peddlers but family farmers and the American people.”

    He said this means promoting not only development but protection of environmental treasures and expanding both agriculture and new energy sources.

    “I am confident we have the team we need to make the rural agenda America’s agenda, to create millions of new green jobs, to free our nation from its dependence on oil and to help preserve this planet for our children,” Obama said.

    Transition officials say more announcements are likely this week before Obama heads to Hawaii for Christmas vacation with his family.

    Note he wants to protect environmental treasures also….
    you folks really need to give the man and his team a chance, may turn out you don’t know it all after all…

  13. April Clauson Avatar
    April Clauson

    Quote from Salazar, he has according to this article, tried to do some good things for us, but was shot down….

    I will do all I can to help reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil,” Salazar said, wearing a cowboy hat and string tie. “I look forward to working directly with President-elect Obama, as an integral part of his team, as we take the moon shot on energy independence.”

    Salazar co-sponsored a bill in Congress to create a new land conservation system under the Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management for permanently protecting 26 million acres of national monuments, wilderness areas and wild and scenic rivers. The legislation died during the special session of Congress after the November election.

    The Colorado senator opposed drilling in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and objected to the Bush administration’s efforts to lease Western lands for oil shale development. It will be up to the Obama administration whether to go ahead with leasing.

  14. Ron Kearns Avatar
    Ron Kearns


    Here is the video, I think I got Mr. Cooper’s name correct:


    Republican Horace Cooper starting @ about timeframe 01:00

  15. kt Avatar

    I saw the same Video that Ron Kearns did about how happy the Republicans were with Obama’s cabinet. I think it was on an MSNBC (maybe) YOUTube clip that maybe showed up on Yahoo.

    Republicans praise Obama’s reassuring cabinet.


    View it and weep.

  16. JimT Avatar

    Ralph, I know you are counseling patience, and most likely it is the best course..the others lead to high blood pressure..~S~

    I think Obama’s comments about not selling out to the big lobbyists is campaign rhetoric. But, if one believes what he says, then I see somewhat of a mixed bag approach which may give local communities TOO much input and power based on parochial concerns instead of ecosystem health. I just finished reading an article on the Klamath, and all the shareholders there. What struck me is that IF the watershed is managed for its health, there will be losers who walk away from the table, no question. I think sometimes in the entrancement with “consensus and collaboration”, we forget that nature is at the table as well. And given the amount of abuse it has endured, and the fact that even an ecosystem can and does reach a tipping point, it is often those who caused the tipping point to be reached to gulp and swallow their medicine, so to speak. Somehow when I read the literature on these two types of problem solving, the implication is that everyone will win…We should face the reality; we should recognize that IF we are to manage the ecosystem for its own health, we are the ones who will have to make the changes, and endure the temporary…or permanent hardship. I wonder if that model can work, or our selfishness as a species will forever lock us into contention until there is irreparable harm to the resources upon which we depend?

  17. Salle Avatar

    “We should face the reality; we should recognize that IF we are to manage the ecosystem for its own health, we are the ones who will have to make the changes, and endure the temporary…or permanent hardship. I wonder if that model can work, or our selfishness as a species will forever lock us into contention until there is irreparable harm to the resources upon which we depend?”

    That would be the big question. As history has proven, it isn’t likely for Americans to actually be able to accept such a set of uncomfortable proposals.

    American have shown, time and again, that they won’t stand for giving anything up, for allowing for any kind of competition~whether it’s bears, wolves or even union workers vs nonunion worker concerning rates of pay. Ranchers won’t accept that they should concede anything since they see themselves as the salvation of the nation because they produce some kind of food product~evidenced by the endless whining even though they are heavily subsidized, same as with mining industry evidenced by their insistence that they can’t make a buck raping the land without the ancient Mining Act remaining unchanged-even though the also use back-door methods of obtaining greater land to trash via grazing permits…

    And folks in the cities and towns who can’t be bothered to concern themselves with living less wastefully because they don’t see what it is doing to the environment, they conveniently brush these concerns aside because it hasn’t hit them upside the head yet.

    Big business and energy production interests won’t change their practices because they can get a “pass” on retrofitting by claiming it costs too much and Congress allows them to do so by doing what Newt Gingrich suggests, “…there’s no conflict of interest… so Mr. (Murdoch in that particular case) has a problem with the rules. We’ll just change the rules and then there won’t be a problem.” Cap and trade anyone?

    Complacency is one of our greatest enemies when it comes to governing and enforcement of the rule of law when it comes to the public demanding it be done. Besides, big bucks have the bigger voice that always gets heard while drowning out the rest of us. Why does it come as such a shock when we are ignored ad infinitum?

    Democracy, we should market it other nations.. see how profitable it is?

  18. Ron Kearns Avatar
    Ron Kearns

    Republican Horace Cooper starting @ about timeframe 01:00

    “I guess I don’t see this as a dramatic change in any way, I see this as a calm and more reassuring sense that we are *heading in the same direction*, so its change that is really, really very familiar.”

    Those comments should be spread everywhere, especially to Democrats and to Democratic congressional representatives who must approve the selection of
    Obama’s Cabinet. Review the video to ensure that I correctly quoted the very *happy* Republican correctly.

    Heading in the same direction will head this Nation into ruin and despair. I certainly think Mr. Obama will improve over the past 8 years, but who couldn’t after Bush’s imbecilic reign of terror in Iraq, destruction of our economy, infrastructure, and world respect, and his trashing of the 4th Amendment.

    All of my family are also conservative Republicans and many other Republicans have said that Obama is just a slick politician and that his ad nauseam “change” mantra was simply a vote getter and a big lie; to date, they are correct.

  19. April Clauson Avatar
    April Clauson

    I am beginning to see by these posts all over this board why folks say that us nutty enviros will never settle unless it is there way or no way. I can not believe the negativities of all of you. Thats it for me, carry on now with all the complaining and doubts…

  20. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears


    Problem is, Actions speak louder than words, and I have to say the President Elects action is pretty deafening right now..

  21. Ron Kearns Avatar
    Ron Kearns

    Horace Cooper, a Republican, is an attorney on the Board of Directors of The National Center for Public Policy Research whose “environmental policy is :


    “Environmental Policy: Firm in the belief that private owners are the best stewards of the environment, The National Center’s Center for Environmental and Regulatory Affairs advocates private, free market solutions to today’s environmental challenges.”

    {End Quote}

    Small wonder he said this on Dec 16 regarding Obama’s “Change”:

    “I guess I don’t see this as a dramatic change in any way, I see this as a calm and more reassuring sense that we are *heading in the same direction*, so its change that is really, really very familiar.”

    Yes, the Republicans are happy with Mr. O’NO!

  22. Mike Avatar

    April, this isn’t the kind of change we signed up for. What’s wrong with throwing us a bone? I championed Obama and donated money. I was simply expecting at least one bone to be thrown our way. There are a lot of good people who have been beaten up pretty badly the last 8 years on public land issues. The reaction your are seeing is the normal, sane reaction to the Salazar pick. Why wouldn’t Obama pick a guy who was not only capable, but also someone who eased the fears of Obama’s biggest supporters? Why spite them? Why placate those who are going to hate you anyway? Haven’t Dems learned that lesson yet? It’s *not* a good sign when industry is slap happy about Obama’s pick. That’s an insult.

    I hope Salazar changes, I really do. But I’m not going to lie to myself about the displeasure of the pick, or to others.

  23. JimT Avatar

    I suspect April will be checking in from time to time…so I ask her one question..

    Is there anything in Obama’s conduct or his team’s conduct since the election that seeks to stifle dissent? You may not like the negative comments about Salazar, but from I read and hear, it is pretty much a universal reaction by the green side of things. And if that ticks off the welfare ranchers, or the mining folks or the oil and gas folks, I count it time well spent. Do you think these industries would be bending over backwards to give someone like Grijalva a chance? We are unhappy; and I think Jim M is right..agitate, speak up, act out if you are unhappy about something. If we don’t, and give Salazar free rein, we deserve what we get.

    That much I will give them credit for..the appearance of listening to the masses. Just how much listening is going on…none of us are in the room. The appointments and the response to current crises in Interior will speak volumes.

  24. Salle Avatar

    Yesterday, in my confusion and disillusionment, I went out in a snowstorm to think and cool off. I went from a warm, safe place out into a windy, very cold, snowy place… and it was very unpleasant. (It was about -19F this morning if that helps you get a feel for how cold it was in the storm ~ single digits for certain!)

    But it also became a metaphor for this whole issue and our response to a new negative element of it.

    I came back inside because it wasn’t pleasant out there where the wind was blowing the snow into and uproar, blinding me and making it difficult to move onward, kind of like us here on this blog.

    It also showed me that being out in an uproar that was decidedly limiting and wasn’t all that productive since all I could think about was getting back inside. Although it did clear my head ~ when I go outside in a blizzard, I usually have decided not to come back in until I get over my negativity, an adult form of a “time out”.

    I had to come up with some kind of starting point. So I decided that I have to just be more diligent in educating my government, not just sending mad e-mails and such but actually preparing writings that are clear, informative and worthy of notice without all the emotional uproar.

    I’m tired of being upset over this, and I was by the time I came inside from the storm.

    I suggest that we all decide to channel our negative energy into a positive form of participation in our participatory government that we have… Squabbling amongst ourselves only weakens our argument and determination and credibility. I think that is how cheney/rove/w managed to have their way in some cases… divide and conquer, you know?

    I have a lot to read up on, I think I may be in the early stages of writing a new ESA for submission to the feds… I am a policy analyst ~ among other things that are helpful here so, if anyone has anything to offer in that way, let me know.

    I’m unemployed at present so I have time to do this sort of thing, I feel it’s becoming an obligation at this point in time. If the government can’t fix or restore the current ESA, I’ll have a new and improved version ready by March, maybe sooner.


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.

Subscribe to get new posts right in your Inbox

Ralph Maughan