Washington (CNN) - Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, who led the response to the 2010 BP oil spill and administered a moratorium on offshore drilling, announced Wednesday that he is stepping down.
The former Colorado lawmaker plans to return home in March after eight turbulent and busy years in Washington, four years in the U.S. Senate and four years as head of the Interior Department.
Los Angeles (CNN) - Given the growing influence of the Hispanic vote, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar tried Thursday to seize on the increasingly pivotal role they will likely play in helping President Barack Obama's re-election prospects.
During a White House Hispanic Community Action Summit in Los Angeles, Salazar acknowledged the relative slow pace of economic recovery but emphasized that the nation's steady job growth is benefitting Hispanics across a broad spectrum of economic areas.
New Orleans, Louisiana (CNN) – Interior Secretary Ken Salazar on Tuesday called a six-month halt on deepwater drilling "needed, appropriate and within our authorities" in announcing he will issue a new order on a moratorium just hours after a federal judge blocked such a mandate.
"We see clear evidence every day, as oil spills from BP's well, of the need for a pause on deepwater drilling," Salazar said in a statement. "That evidence mounts as BP continues to be unable to stop its blowout, notwithstanding the huge efforts and help from the federal scientific team and most major oil companies operating in the Gulf of Mexico."
Salazar's statement did not give an exact date for when the new order would be imposed, saying only "in the coming days."
Washington (CNN) - Interior Secretary Ken Salazar on Wednesday defended the Obama administration's six-month federal moratorium on deepwater drilling, which has come under fire from critics who argue that it's vital for reducing the dependence on foreign oil.
Speaking before the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, Salazar said the moratorium was necessary so "as we move forward with any kind of deepwater operation, that we can assure the American public and we can assure that everyone who was watching that in fact it can move forward in a safe way."
The moratorium comes as President Obama's oil spill commission investigates what caused the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion April 20. Its report is due in six months.
New York (CNNMoney.com) – Interior Secretary Ken Salazar reiterated Wednesday that the U.S. government is doing all it can to put an end to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, and to enforce ethics requirements in the federal agency responsible for inspecting oil wells.
He also reiterated that the oil spill is causing President Obama to consider adjustments to his plan to open exploration wells for drilling in the Arctic.
The Interior Department faced criticism in a hearing before Congress Wednesday, two days after an inspector general report showed Minerals Management Service (MMS) inspectors took gifts from big oil companies, watched pornography and used crystal meth at work.
But in the hearing before the House Natural Resources Committee, Salazar said he believes most of the bureau's 1,700 employees are "good public servants" and abide by ethics requirements put in place by the Obama administration. He said the department has "zero tolerance" for the ethical lapses, which he also called "reprehensible" and even "criminal."
A BP cleanup worker lays out an oil-soaked boom on an Elmer's Island, Louisiana beach Sunday. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
(CNN) - Saying BP has "from day one, frankly not fulfilled the mission it was supposed to fulfill," Interior Secretary Ken Salazar expressed frustration Sunday with the delay in stopping an underwater oil gusher 33 days after an oil rig exploded and sank in the Gulf of Mexico.
"I have no question that BP is throwing everything at the problem," Salazar said. "Do I have confidence that they know exactly what they're doing? No."
Watch: 'I am not confident in BP,' Salazar says
But he and other federal officials likened the task to an "Apollo 13" mission. Marcia McNutt, director of the U.S. Geological Survey, told reporters that while BP has failed to meet its own schedule for stopping the gusher, their schedule was probably not feasible from the outset, given that the tasks involve construction, mobilizing equipment and fabricating new devices.
"I think everyone has to understand that the kinds of operations they're doing in the deep sea have never been done before," said McNutt, who is helping lead a team of scientists from the Department of Energy, NASA and others in helping find a solution to the leak.
Washington (CNN) – Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced Wednesday that he launched his plan to restructure the government's Minerals Management Service, which has come under criticism because of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
Under a secretarial order signed by Salazar, the agency will be made into three divisions to split what he called the conflicting duties of regulating oil companies and collecting royalties from them.
The three tasks of the Minerals Management Service - energy development, enforcement and revenue collection - "are conflicting missions and must be separated," Salazar said.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) - A top U.S. official pledged Tuesday to reform how the government does business with the oil industry, and to hold BP accountable for the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
Speaking before the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar outlined the steps he has taken to overhaul the Minerals Management Service, which has been criticized for having a "cozy" relationship with the oil and gas companies it's tasked with overseeing.
The MMS has been in the spotlight since the Deepwater Horizon, an oil rig operated by BP, exploded and sank in the Gulf of Mexico last month, killing 11 people. The disaster resulted in a huge oil spill that has yet to be contained.
Washington (CNN) - Interior Secretary Ken Salazar on Sunday said the Gulf of Mexico oil spill from a destroyed rig "potentially is catastrophic."
Salazar told CNN's "State of the Union" program, "I think we have to prepare for the worst."
He said later in the program that "It is indeed a massive oil spill."
Asked what happened, Salazar said there was a failure in the technology that is intended to prevent a so-called blowout.
"There is no doubt at all here that that what has happened is the blowout prevention mechanism at the bottom of the well ... is defective," Salazar said. "While there have been blowouts in the past, we have never seen anything that has been quite of this magnitude."
Watch: Salazar on the oil spill
(CNN) - Interior Secretary Ken Salazar will announce his approval for a massive wind turbine project off the coast of Cape Cod on Wednesday, three administration sources tell CNN.
The project has been the subject of resistance for years from some local organizations concerned it will threaten the wildlife and aesthetics of Nantucket Sound. Some local residents and environmental groups also fear it will decrease property values and significantly disrupt the habitats of several local animal species.
The late Sen. Edward Kennedy M. Kennedy opposed the project.
Supporters of the project say the wind farm will significantly reduce oil consumption with clean energy and provide a substantial supply of electricity to New England.
The massive project is to be built by a private developer, Cape Wind Associates. It is expected to cost over $800 million, according to the Cape Cod Times.
–CNN's Alexander Mooney contributed to this report