Clinton-Era Secretary Blasts Interior; Scientists Say Salazar Should Quit

Scientists & Conservation Groups: Time for Salazar to step down

Clinton-Era Secretary Blasts Interior; Scientists Say Salazar Should Quit featured in the New York Times

Read the letter

The Gulf Coast disaster is a cataclysmic failure. It’s a failure of insatiable industrial greed. But to leave it at that – to blame BP and demand accountability of BP alone – is too narrow. It keeps the reigns of control in the hands of the private actors who ought no longer be trusted, and it ignores the fact that the environment in which private industry’s over-step of influence took place was only made possible by a failure of our representatives to clean shop. There’s a systemic problem.

If Obama is to take responsibility in such a way to prevent events like this from happening again, he must recognize that this event is a failure of our government – those representatives of our commonly held interest – to check Industry’s insatiable push avoid, exploit, and “externalize” consideration of the public interest when profiting off of the public estate.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar promised reform at MMS. It was a nice photo-op.  Then he walked away.

The same breaches of accountability to the public interest exist in other agencies within the Interior Department – and the consequences are much the same, albeit felt in slow-motion relative to the oil spill.

The Bureau of Land Management, an agency within Salazar’s Interior, remains captured by industry – the same Bush era “burrows” continue their push to expedite the commercial “use” of the vast ecological wealth of our public lands, grasses, waters, and wildlife into cattle forage – with consideration of its environmental consequence held at the back-burner, if it takes place at all.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the agency within Salazar’s Interior charged with designating Endangered Species Act protections for wildlife, remains a stalwart of industry, only affording protections to species via the ESA when forced by a court – and dragging its feet on applying best science with politicized findings that imperiled species are “warranted, but precluded” from ESA protection – an obscure legal crack into which species seldom emerge.

Interior is broken.




  1. Virginia Avatar

    100% of his time is being spent on the oil spill. Really. Really?

  2. mikepost Avatar

    The list of signatory groups is not exactly a bunch of what I would call main stream conservation and wildlife organizations. There are some rather narrow and nutty groups listed there and almost none of the major credible players. I am a bit disappointed to see the BFC in this otherwise weird mix.

    Besides, I don’t remember everyone embracing Babbit’s work while he was there.

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Brian Ertz