Obama passed up Grijalva at Interior for more Offshore Oil Friendly Salazar

Representative Raúl M. Grijalva ‘gets it’ before it needs gettin’.  Salazar is an industry apologist

Salazar ♥♥♥ Offshore Drilling
Representative Raúl M. Grijalva issued a press release highlighting a recent Washington Post article describing how his foresight on offshore drilling, a foresight directly pertinent to any hope at having spared the world the worst environmental disaster in history, is the very reason President Obama declined to appoint him Secretary of the Interior, instead choosing industry-friendly Ken Salazar :

Wash. Post: Grijalva Passed Over for Interior Sec. Because of Tough Stance on Offshore Drilling

Tucson, Ariz. – According to a recent featured story in the Washington Post, Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva was passed over for Secretary of the Interior during the Obama transition because of his unwillingness to approve offshore drilling projects without first strengthening Bush-era environmental standards. The story, which ran Oct. 13, indicates that current Interior Secretary Ken Salazar was more in line with the president’s urge toward a “balanced” energy portfolio that included more offshore drilling.

Lifting the drilling moratorium: How politics spilled into policy – Michael Leahy and Juliet Eilperin – The Washington Post

Members of Obama’s transition team for the Interior Department, who were handling the preliminary talks with Grijalva and others, spoke enthusiastically about Obama’s “balanced” energy approach, which embraced new drilling as a transition to a day when “clean” energy could replace fossil fuels.

A dissenting Grijalva told the transition team that it was premature to talk about an expansion of drilling. His first priority, he said, would be correcting the dangerous imbalance he saw between industry and federal regulators. Before he could endorse expansion, Grijalva suggested, Interior would need to regain the upper hand.

Previously, a few of Salazar’s failures at Interior:
The Spill, The Scandal and the President

“Employees describe being in Interior – not just MMS, but the other agencies – as the third Bush term,” says Jeff Ruch, executive director of Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, which represents federal whistle-blowers. “They’re working for the same managers who are implementing the same policies. Why would you expect a different result?”

Salazar = Extractive Industries' 'Ace in the Hole'

Salazar Strikes Again, Denying Meaningful Protection for Imperiled Tiny Bunny of the Sagebrush Sea

The Obama administration’s listing decisions always cut the same way, representing what amounts to exclusive benefits extended to big business interests at the expense of wild places, the public interest, and those faint and voiceless wildlife communities on the precipice of being extinguished from our world forever.

Not good for the Sagebrush Sea and those plant and wildlife communities that depend on it, and not an efficient administration of the ESA that promotes the actual recovery of the landscape necessary to prevent the necessity for future listings.

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

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.

US Department of Interior

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.

Interior Science Has Integrity Issues, Inspector General Says

The report starts with this:

“The Department of the Interior (Interior) has never had, and currently operates without, a scientific integrity policy. Further, it has no requirement to track allegations of scientific misconduct, and its discipline and adverse action policy is deficient to the point that scientific misconduct deeds could go unpunished. Without sound policies to protect the scientific community and general public from potentially flawed scientific research, data, and publications, Interior’s reputation and its public trust are at risk.”

etc. etc. etc.







  1. JimT Avatar

    As I recall, folks on this blog had it exactly right about Salazar, and not just on the oil and gas issues, but ESA, grazing, mining…

  2. Uta Stansburiyana Avatar
    Uta Stansburiyana

    “Change we can believe in”

  3. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    My opinion is that we were really taken in by Obama. Well, I wasn’t. I didn’t caucus for him at the Idaho Democratic Party presidential caucus. I didn’t attend. If I did, I would probably have gone for Hillary.

    . . . but I did believe a great positive change was almost a sure thing, and it wasn’t.

    Unfortunately, rather than move to the middle and pick up dissatisfied Democrats (the usual tactic of any major losing party), Republicans moved off the chart. As a result, this is one of the most important elections in history coming up, and all of the possible outcomes are bad. It’s just that some are much worse than others.

    1. David Avatar

      Ralph, I agree and disagree. I’m a conservative, and I did not vote for Obama. Even though I disagree with him, I, like you, did think that many positive changes were inevitable.

      But I think that the way forward should have as little to do with politics as possible. Environmentalism, loving nature, stemming the tide greed and abuse of resources… these are NOT political things. The parties are broken, no question. But we need to educate (something this blog does very well!) people, and the next generation of voters especially, about the importance of the natural world. None of us can live without it.

      Being in bed with industry was not something ANY of our forefathers fought for, or would have tolerated. Both parties need to take a look at themselves. But the ENTIRE nation needs to take a look at itself and start thinking in terms of bringing about our own extinction…. that’s not politics. The single-issue voting system is inherently flawed. We’re taking ourselves down a path we will not survive environmentally OR politically. That’s what people need to vote for… ACTUAL change, not a change of parties.

    2. JB Avatar

      I am not as negative as some about Obama. I think his team foresaw an attack from the right at the midterms (which is the norm) and they knew they were vulnerable (Obama won, in part, because conservatives stayed home). Thus, they moved to the middle after the election (as a political tactic) in an attempt to “head off” criticism from the right. Had the economy not tanked just before he took office, this tactic might have worked. However, the stimulus package, TARP and other government programs presented the right with the perfect opportunity to paint him as a crazed liberal, hell-bent on spending (never mind the fact that most economists felt we spent too little).

      In my personal opinion, one of the biggest problems with politics in this country is the practice of Redstricitng–drawing up political boundaries so that Democratic or Republic seats are secure. This practice encourages would-be representatives from the extreme left/right in the primary and removes incentives to find people from the middle who are willing to compromise. What we are left with is a House full of ideologues who view any action from opposing party with extreme skepticism, and are more interested in arguing ideology than solving problems.

    3. JimT Avatar

      I really think that Obama really didn’t “get DC”, Ralph, more than it was that it was a deliberate effort to mislead the electorate.But, he is responsible for not understanding just how much the Republican(t)s hated the idea of his election, and just how thoroughly they were committed to getting the Dems out so they can get back to Bush years agenda. There is no working with conservatives in DC; his and his staff’s failure to convince of this is largely responsible for them being on the defensive despite doing some very spectacular things to save this country from completely going down the drain. It is looking more and more we will have a real if not defacto split Congress, leading to more gridlock, more BS posturing in front of cameras and on the Internet. Could it be that this miracle of the Internet actually makes it easier for politicians to hide from the electorate? If most folks are accessing FB pages and websites now, the candidates just spin and spin their own reality with no way to counteract it. Here in Colorado, there was a debate where NONE of the Republicans showed up. Why bother having to answer potentially hard questions about important issues when you can just control your message with no opposition?

  4. WolfMtnLady Avatar

    Grijavla is not what he presents himself to be, he will go with what ever and whom ever for any reason as long as he feels it will help him politically. He has not been a very good influence on Tucson or Arizona with his calling for a boycott of AZ, AZ is in bad straights and for him to do that was not correct! I really do not think he would have been any better than Salazar. Grijavla is on his way out in AZ, he sealed his fate with the boycott and other issues he has backed that was not good for our state. and I agree with Ralph, our government on both sides, and the middle (tea party) are all way off base and we are in a world of doo-doo if the Republicans get control again, the Dems are not doing so great but they are doing something for the middle class and poor, the Republicans will cater to the rich and the oil and gas and big corporations, I will take the Dems over the Repubs at this point. But we the people are the ones getting screwed!!!

    1. Ken Cole Avatar

      Your statement “he will go with what ever and whom ever for any reason as long as he feels it will help him politically” is belied by your following statement ” He has not been a very good influence on Tucson or Arizona with his calling for a boycott of AZ”.

      How could calling for a ban of his own state be beneficial politically? I think he had courage to stand up to those bigots in the state legislature but it wasn’t the best political move.

  5. Virginia Avatar

    I agree with Ken, it was not a political decision for Raul to call for a ban on his state – he felt it was necessary to call attention to the ridiculous attack on Latinos (he is Latino if you hadn’t noticed.) The above attack on Raul seems to be a “plant” on this blog in my opinion.

  6. Mike Avatar

    While I am disappointed in Obama, he’s still better than any Republican.

    It’s sad, but it’s true. I wish we had more environmentally friendly politicians.

  7. Brian Ertz Avatar

    I lived in Grijalva’s district for a bit. He’s a friend of the family down there.

    I can assure you, Raúl M. Grijalva acts from integrity and what he believes to be right more than any politician I’ve seen.

    The Washington Post article demonstrates that. When confronted with the opportunity to take a position of power at Interior, Grijalva told it how he saw it … and he was right. Interior is broken and needs fixed – period. That integrity contributed to his not being selected.

    On the other hand, the more politically ambitious Salazar went with the political winds (industry apologist) and secured himself the position. Creep.

    The Obama Administration, and the Democratic Party in this country needs to be put down. Of what use is a so-called alternative to Republican Corporatists when they’re both headed in the same direction ? We might be able to point at nuanced differences in technical policy positions … but the only difference I see between Democrats and Republicans is that Republicans are at least willing to be honest about their serving the Corporate Interest …

    1. JimT Avatar

      Agreed. I have met the man a few times, talked with him in casual settings. He walks his talk more than most.

  8. Virginia Avatar

    Brian – I would ask you what alternative to the Democratic party would you like to see? They certainly have let a lot of supporters down – that is true – but to support the Teapublicans to me would be unthinkable! I am sure you are very aware of their plans for our country, destroy Social Security, Medicare, public education, etc.

    1. Brian Ertz Avatar

      personally, my alternative is to abandon any substantive intellectual investment in party politics and put my shoulder into an environmental interest group. if i’m going to forfeit my personal serenity, i prefer the tangible experience engendered by my ability to see the results.

      i was a delegate at the last Idaho Democratic Convention – caucused for Kucinich (the only real candidate of principle). At the Convention I was aghast at the level of competency on display with respect to issues. A fellow eco-minded delegate and I had to beg to get Blue Ribbon Coalition language off the platform. The convention, and the party in this state (and nationally), seems to me to be a ‘party-for-party’s sake’ anti-intellectual-masturbatory exercise in glad-handing. Interest in issues = a blank stare and a suggestion that perhaps you be more willing to take a moderate approach “for the team/party”. Endorsing the “moderate” approach, at least with Democrats, seems to be the universal stand-in for taking a principled stand, or even a rational position. It’s as if “moderate”, “middle”, etc. is supposed to – of its mere utterance – beckon votes … which stands completely contrary to what the Tea-baggin’ lunatics are demonstrating. Democrats have abandoned the issues and replaced them with a nebulous and meaningless call for “moderation”. All it does for Democrats is deflate folk who give a rip about the issues’ willingness to knock on doors. There is no party infrastructure in Idaho because any infrastructure comes from those who are motivated to change policy on issues. That’s how Obama got it — but Obama lied — and that political dishonesty, his failure to follow through on expectation, will emasculate the party for years to come. No one will trust D’s enough to pound the streets again.

      I spoke with Minnick for a short bit about natural resource policy. His canned-response beckoned the success at all-inclusive, locally derivative models of “collaborative” conservation like the Owyhee Initiative (which was neither all-inclusive NOR locally representative). It was a joke. Minnick used the state party like a rag initially, and now that he’s found K-street, Minnick has cut the chord on the folk back home ~ he’s a lobbyist-lickin’ Corporatist who’se just another cog in the machine.

      Party Politics is bullshit ~ it’s a political play fully and fundamentally hijacked by corporate interests that dangle the D-Corporatist or the R-Corporatist in front of our face every other year and pat us on the top of the head for our wise so-called “decision”. Then, they put our so-called “choices” into the K-street meat-grinder in DC, and the same stanky hash comes out the other end.

      If a person was to remain interested in Party Politics. I would extend my personal endorsement and financial contribution to this guy, who it appears is among the few running for office who actually ‘get-it’ :

      1. Nancy Avatar

        Wow! Telling it like it really is for many, in a few short, direct sentences. Brian, you may appreciate this 3 part video on how we might of gotten where we are today:


      2. Brian Ertz Avatar

        😉 but in all seriousness, this candidate of “The Rent is Too Damn High” Party is an activist, who has a legitimate issue, and is using the process to elevate the issue.

        We need more of this, particularly in states like Idaho where we get the same BS races every other year.

      3. Virginia Avatar

        I saw this candidate last night on Lawrence (sp) O’Donnell’s show on MSNBC and I liked him! He is a character and was well spoken in spite of what people might think from the picture. I wish he was going to be the governor of New York. As you say, Brian, some new blood would be very positive.

      4. DB Avatar

        I agree, too. I donated to Minnick and Obama even knocked on doors inb Elko for several days (which I don’t regret). I’m giving now to advocates and wwp and othes like. but I’m still voting for the less bad of two choices because as Ralph said the possible outcomes are much worse for some than others.

  9. David Avatar

    Brian, I wholeheartedly agree with you.

    Virginia, There was a fascinating article in the WSJ today I suggest you read: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704631504575531913602803980.html?mod=WSJ_hp_mostpop_read

    Agree or disagree with the tea-party and its many faces, there are some sentiments being supported there that could be adopted quite meaningfully by a new lefty party. I think if reasonably minded conservatives could silence the less constructive elements of the teaparty, and reasonably minded liberals could form a party on the other side of the aisle based on a similar return to historically American values, we could potentially pull the rug right out from under the old donkey and elephant.

    We might even be able to return to a form of political debate that Alexander Hamilton could be proud of.

    1. Virginia Avatar

      Really? You are truly a dreamer! Who owns the Wall Street Journal? Never end a sentence with a preposition.

      1. David Avatar

        So I guess you didn’t read it, huh? If the words of your opponent deserve nothing more than scorn, then you are truly impoverished.

        I might point out: I’m not a member of the tea-party, nor do I ever intend to be. But I do think that the historical evaluation of the principles underlying the movement are of relevance to all of us.

  10. JB Avatar

    Some folks might be interested to know that in the last three election years (2004,6,&8) http://www.electoral-vote.com has correctly predicted outcomes in 98%, 100%, and 96% of elections, respectively.

    Currently they are showing:
    Senate: D=51, R=48, T=1
    House: D=205, R=202, T=28

  11. Nancy Avatar

    Click here: You Might be a Tea Party Member if… | Atlantic Free Press – Hard Truths for Hard Times

  12. JimT Avatar

    Very Funny, Nancy. Here is some more humor…

    A woman in a hot air balloon realized she was lost. She lowered her altitude and spotted a man in a boat below. She shouted to him,

    “Excuse me, can you help me? I promised a friend I would meet him an hour ago, but I don’t know where I am.”

    The man consulted his portable GPS and replied, “You’re in a hot air balloon, approximately 30 feet above ground elevation of 2,346 feet above sea level. You are at 31 degrees, 14.97 minutes north latitude and 100 degrees, 49.09 minutes west longitude.

    She rolled her eyes and said, “You must be an Obama Democrat.”

    “I am,” replied the man. “How did you know?”

    “Well,” answered the balloonist, “everything you told me is technically correct. But I have no idea what to do with your information, and I’m still lost. Frankly, you’ve not been much help to me.”

    The man smiled and responded, “You must be a Republican.”

    “I am,” replied the balloonist. “How did you know?”

    “Well,” said the man, “you don’t know where you are — or where you are going. You’ve risen to where you are , due to a large quantity of hot air. You made a promise you have no idea how to keep, and you expect me to solve your problem.
    You’re in exactly the same position you were in before we met, but somehow, now it’s my fault.”

  13. Nancy Avatar

    Good one JimT.
    Don’t forget to check this site out if you like a good laugh. I’d definately vote for this guy if he’d ford the “pond” and run.

  14. Virginia Avatar

    I did read the article in the Wall Street Journal, written by a fellow at the Stanford Hoover Institute, noted for supplying information for the Republican Party’s platforms, etc. As you are aware, the Hoover Institute promotes free enterprise (nothing wrong with that), but its principles state that the federal government should only intervene when private entities fail. This is not something I would agree with and on which the tea parties are based. I feel that Raul is the real thing and the fact that he turned down the position as head of DOI (for reasons he stated) show his integrity and honesty, in my opinion. I have sent money to him and hope fervently that he is re-elected as we need people like him and there are so few.

  15. Alan Gregory Avatar

    I cringe whenever I read or hear the word “balanced” in conservation-related prose or speeches. And I, while serving as the spokesman at an U.S. Air Force base in upstate New York in the late 80s, used that very word when answering public and media queries about noise-pollution events. It’s akin to deflecting such queries as “hey, that’s just the sound of freedom you’re hearing.” “Balanced?”

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Brian Ertz