Interior staff's top seats in limbo

Despite nominations by the President, only Ken Salazar has been approved by the U.S. Senate-

One reason we haven’t seen much change in the B.L.M., National Park Service, etc. is that Senate Republicans are holding up action on the nominations.

Interior staff’s top seats in limbo. Politics » Hatch and Bennett oppose nominee, adding to a slowdown in confirmations. By Thomas Burr. The Salt Lake Tribune

Utah’s two U.S. Senators — Hatch and Bennett are pissed that Salazar withdraw the oil and gas lease auction near the national parks in Utah.

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A similar problem exists in most agencies and departments of the government. This seems unique — almost every nomination is held up under threat of filibuster and every close election, e.g., Minnesota and New York, is endlessly contested because of the threat of filibuster if the majority tries to seat the apparent election winner.






  1. jimbob Avatar

    People of Utah should ask yourself just who these two guys (Hatch and Bennett) represent: the energy industry or the people of Utah, a majority of which probably oppose the sale of those lands. It should be a momentous thing when guys like this show their true colors, but everybody forgets too quickly. Make them pay at the polls….

  2. jdubya Avatar

    jimbob, we ask ourselves that all the time, but until we get another LDS Republican willing to take them on then we are stuck.

    Pete Ashdown ran against Hatch last go round. A demoncrat that is very tech savvy and would have made an outstanding senator for these changing time. He got trashed in the polls.

    Quality and job performance is NOT how Utah citizens rate their politicians. Fealty to the church first, obsequience to the “rural way of life” second (although these two would have no idea which end of a cow the crap comes out of) and being on Rush’s favored list third. And the problem is, the people that are there in the wings trying to replace them are even more right wing, reactionary and anti-environment than these two. FORTUNATELY, the Fed’s own most of Utah and that keeps the locals grubby little fingers from ruining everything.

  3. kt Avatar

    Well, but Salazar hasn’t done anything but surround himself with Coloradans and kowtow to industry while MINDLESSLY trumpeting “renewables” everywhere, all the time – no matter how damaging industrial solar and wind projects on wild lands may be. So there is NOTHING coming from the leadership of Interior that raises pressure in the public eye, as far as I can tell, to make it seem like leadership needs to be in place.

    Again, I think that the longer cowboy Salazar lets Interior do nothing but continue to carry out the agenda of the Bush admin – the happier the destroyers of public lands are. The guy is a disaster, and needs to be removed.

  4. Ralph Maughan Avatar


    I think I will back off a bit until we actually see these people in office. Right now, it’s Secretary Salazar and no one else from the new Administration sitting in the offices.

    For example, earlier I suggested the prosecution of Tim De Christopher might be a warning from the new Administration not to mess with us.

    However, after reading about the intense interest of Utah Republican US Senators Hatch and Bennett in the oil and gas leases that Salazar withdraw, the more it seems like retribution from the old regime — especially with the U.S. Attorney who brought the charges having been in the Bush Administration’s terrrorist division.

  5. jdubya Avatar

    The was an article in the NY Times about Costa Rica and how they fused the Environment and Energy portfolios into one gov’t position. In CR they get it that destroying the environment to “drill baby drill” is very shortsighted and the economic base they can develop with alternative energies will allow them to thrive AND preserve the environment. It makes for a good read KT.

    And, at least for me, it is the identical situation in Utah where the thousands and millions of years it took to create these amazing miracles of rock can be erased in a few months under a swarm of ATVs and drilling rigs. The urge to drill in Utah reached epidemic proportions in the last few years of the Bush administration and the state does not want to give up that cheap fix. Hence the more they can slow down Interior’s change, the better. The only principle that our Utah senators are standing on is the standard adage: money talks and bull shit walks.

  6. kt Avatar

    I read the prosecution of DiChristopher as Don’t Mess with Industry … No matter what if it is oily ooze, in DiChritopher’s case, or down the road – industrial eagle-killing turbines. Remember what the message was when the awful Obama pick of Salazar was announced – Something like he was the only one of the candidates for the Interior Secretary that was ok with miners and ranchers/Industry.

  7. pc Avatar

    Sorry not sure I follow the logic here. Salazar allowed delisting in the Northern Rockies in 2 of the 3 states. This is a continuation of the last administrations policies.
    Since this has gotton political, so far it’s been over 100 days of a continuation of the Bush administration. I see no change, just same-old, same-old across the board.
    You can agrue it’s early and I agree, but not sure I see much changing in the future. I think Salazar is a bad choice for this position. I think Obama can do better in this area.
    Who cares who holds up the nomination and why. A bad choice has been made now lets get it right.

  8. Brian Ertz Avatar

    i have to agree – Obama and his people need to know that Salazar is a bad choice now, before appointments under him are finalized. Salazar needs to be sidelined –

    from what I understand, the inner circle of the Obama admin was a bit surprised by delisting – that might make for hope if we didn’t see all of Salazar’s cronies being propped into position anyway.

    economy, war — not good excuses to let rancher Salazar go renegade with our natural public land heritage.

  9. jimbob Avatar

    Thanks for the explanation JDUBYA. If true, it would be very disappointing to deal with. I guess at least you know what to expect and how to deal with it. Here in Arizona, it is harder to read our politicians!

  10. jdubya Avatar

    Once again the party of NO does what it does best.

    Amazing how it took a public health crisis (or at least the perception of one) to scrape by a HHS approval vote.

  11. JB Avatar


    Hopefully the 60 votes will be forthcoming. I remember my favorite Utah bumper sticker: “Welcome to Utah, set your clock back 100 years.”

    So true.

  12. mikarooni Avatar

    My favorite: Utah: Brigham Young and bring em soon…
    Another: Don’t believe in eugenics? Haven’t been to a shopping mall in St. George have you?


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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Ralph Maughan