Interior Secretary Ken Salazar told CNN that the White House's new plan for some offshore drilling "represents a new direction for us in this administration." (Photo Credit: CNN)
Washington (CNN) – Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said Wednesday that the Obama administration’s new plan for limited offshore drilling is intended to promote American energy independence and national security while protecting critical natural resources.
Watch: Salazar on offshore drilling
“This is a balanced plan,” Salazar said on CNN’s John King, USA. “It represents a new direction for us in this administration based on what had happened in the past. We’re not just going thoughtlessly and rushing to lease [federal lands for drilling] everywhere in America."
President Obama’s new plan would include lifting a 20-year ban on drilling off the Virginia coastline, while clamping down on other sites, including southwest Alaska’s Bristol Bay.
In an interview with CNN Chief National Correspondent John King, Salazar defended the administration’s move against criticisms from Democrats who are concerned about possible environmental damage and Republicans who feel the plan does not go far enough to open up areas for drilling.
Washington (CNN) – One day after Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter announced he would retire at the end of this year, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced he would not run for governor.
Instead, Salazar is endorsing Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper in this year's battle to succeed Ritter, a fellow Democrat.
"Colorado needs a strong, experienced leader with optimism and new ideas for carrying our state forward. That is why I am endorsing John Hickenlooper for Governor of Colorado. John Hickenlooper is a uniter," said Salazar in a statement released Thursday afternoon. "If he decides to run, he will make an excellent Governor for the State of Colorado."
(CNN) – Colorado’s top elected Democrats are urging President Obama to look west for his Supreme Court nominee – pushing the Secretary of the Interior, native son Ken Salazar, for the opening.
Gov. Bill Ritter and Senators Mark Udall and Michael Bennett sent the letter to the White House Thursday asking Salazar be given “serious consideration for this crucial appointment”.
In the letter, they said Salazar “brings the perspective of a Westerner and one of the Hispanic community’s leading voices.” Describing his rise from “humble beginnings in Colorado’s rural San Luis Valley” to state Attorney General and senator, they tout him as a contender “who can add a new perspective to the court.”
Salazar is one of two members of the president’s cabinet who has been mentioned for the court vacancy, along with Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Alaska officials Sarah Palin and Mark Begich are speaking out Friday about Interior Secretary Ken Salazar's decision to retain a Bush-era regulation limiting the protection of polar bears under the Endangered Species Act.
"This is a clear victory for Alaska," Gov. Palin said in a statement released Friday. "We all want to preserve and protect the polar bear using the best possible tools, but there is absolutely no need to change the 4(d) rule to accomplish this purpose. I want to thank Secretary Salazar for his careful review of the science and the administrative record that led to this decision."
Begich agreed with the Alaska governor, lauding the Interior Secretary's decision to keep the existing rule.
"I commend Secretary Salazar for protecting the polar bear while also recognizing it is not appropriate to use a federal law like the ESA to try to regulate greenhouse gas emissions," Begich said Friday. "I support Secretary Salazar's belief that we need a comprehensive energy and climate strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but the ESA should not be used as a back-door regulatory tool to achieve this goal."
But Democratic California Sen. Barbara Boxer, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, slammed the department's decision to monitor the situation saying it's not enough to protect the polar bear.
The remarks follow Salazar's announcement that he will retain the special rule promulgated under the Bush administration in December, but left the door open to implement future measures that would protect the polar bear and its habitat.
WASHINGTON (CNN) — Interior Secretary Ken Salazar is either about to score a major public relations coup for the Obama White House or wind up with some egg on his face.
On Thursday Salazar will be a guest on "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart," which is like playing with fire for politicians. Some emerge unscathed, while others get skewered by the host's sharp wit.
Another top Obama official, White House Budget Director Peter Orszag, appeared on the show earlier this year and generally won high marks after getting a chance to promote the president's economic plans.
Interior officials are expecting Salazar to at least get ribbed about his trademark Stetson and bolo tie, which he showed off when Obama introduced him as Interior Secretary-designate during the presidential transition.
Interior spokeswoman Kendra Barkoff told CNN that Salazar is looking forward to talking about "his work implementing President Obama's vision for building a clean energy economy and his efforts to protect America's treasured landscapes. Time permitting, of course, the Secretary will be glad to offer Stewart some fashion tips, including how best to sport a cowboy hat and bolo tie."
It's probably a safe bet that Stewart will also tweak the secretary about the scandal in the previous administration, which featured Interior officials improperly getting sex and drugs from oil company executives they regulated.
Correction: White House Budget Director Peter Orszag did not say the deficit is a “[bleep]ing big mess" in an interview on "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart," as was reported earlier in this post. Cross-talk between Orszag and Stewart gave the appearance that the budget director had made the comment. Further review of the tape showed he had not. CNN regrets the error.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Interior Secretary Ken Salazar is either about to score a major public relations coup for the Obama White House or wind up with some egg on his face.
Another top Obama official, White House Budget Director Peter Orszag, appeared on the show earlier this year and generally won high marks after getting a chance to promote the president's economic plans - though he may have come close to getting burned after acknowledging the government's deficit is a "[bleep]ing big mess."
(CNN) – In “The Last Word” segment of CNN’s State of the Union Sunday, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar took on critics of President Obama’s cap-and-trade plan aimed at lowering greenhouse gases.
The proposal would impose a cap on the total amount of greenhouse gases that can be emitted in the United States and would also institute a system that allows U.S. companies to trade emission credits. Because the plan would force polluters to assume the cost of the pollution they produce – as determined by the new market for emission credits – it is also likely to make energy more expensive. Many observers expect energy companies to pass those additional costs on to American consumers, with some criticizing the proposal as an “energy tax” on the public.
“They are wrong,” the former senator told CNN’s John King. “I think it’s a false choice that is being set up by those who are in opposition to us addressing the issue of carbon emissions.”
WASHINGTON (CNN) – The disputes over the Illinois and Minnesota Senate seats are stealing the spotlight, but there was other notable moments on Capitol Hill during today's swearing in of the 111th Congress.
The most interesting picture of the day was Dick Cheney swearing in the man that will soon replace him as vice president, Joe Biden. As sitting vice president, Cheney presides over the Senate - and Biden is not only vice president-elect, but the newly re-elected senior senator from Delaware. He'll give that position up come January 20, when he takes the vice presidential oath of office.
Two other senators who get sworn in today will most likely soon be stepping down as well. Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York has been nominated by President-elect Barack Obama to serve as his secretary of state. And Sen. Ken Salazar of Colorado has been nominated by Obama to serve as secretary of the interior. Both will resign their seats if confirmed to their new positions, as expected, by the Senate.
CHICAGO, Illinois (CNN) - President-elect Barack Obama is set to tap Sen. Ken Salazar of Colorado as his nominee for secretary of the interior, two transition officials told CNN Monday.