Salazar to lead 'deeply troubled' Interior department

Nick Snow
Washington Editor

WASHINGTON, DC, Dec. 17 -- Barack Obama formally nominated US Sen. Ken Salazar (D-Colo.) on Dec. 17 to lead what the president-elect termed a "deeply troubled" Department of the Interior. He praised Salazar's ability to bring groups with opposing viewpoints together to reach solutions.

He also named former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack Agriculture Secretary. "Tom understands that the solution to our energy crisis will be found not in oil fields abroad but in our farm fields at home," Obama noted and said the two men would "work with others to develop a new US energy economy that relies more on domestic alternative and renewable resources and less on foreign oil."

Saying he wants "a more proactive Interior Department," Obama said Salazar has extensive experience on issues the new administration will confront in both traditional and new forms of energy.

"If there's going to be a debate about oil shale, I want Ken at the table," Obama said. Salazar has opposed efforts to lease western lands for oil shale development and in late September said that when Congress reconvened, he would try to extend a moratorium on the Bureau of Land Management's proposed oil shale regulations (OGJ Online, Sept. 26, 2008). He also has opposed drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Oil, gas properly managed
Saying he would do everything he could to reduce US dependence on foreign oil and to develop "the new energy economy," Salazar said he also would ensure that traditional resources, including oil, gas, and coal are properly managed.

The presidents of two leading independent oil and gas producers' associations applauded Salazar's selection. "Sen. Salazar knows better than most the importance of the job he is about to take on," said Barry Russell of the Independent Petroleum Association of America in Washington. During Salazar's US Senate tenure, he demonstrated that he's willing to listen to all sides and viewpoints and find common ground on complicated and contentious energy issues, Russell added.

"He is also a life-long advocate of a multiuse approach to managing our public land and accessing safely the resources that lie beneath it. The livelihoods of thousands of independent oil and gas operators across the country remain inextricably linked to that access, and that's a point we intend to make early, often, and with purpose as this new administration begins to take shape," he said.

Marc W. Smith of the Independent Petroleum Association of Mountain States said the Denver-based organization had worked with Salazar for years and is confident that he views natural gas development in the area as an important long-term element in national and regional energy supplies.

"As a Westerner, Sen. Salazar knows that green jobs in the natural gas industry are important to state and local economies. Since many states increasingly look to gas to complement and enable renewable energy technologies, there is a strong rationale for consistent and responsible development on federal lands in the Intermountain West," Smith indicated.

Gas production from the region will become more important as Obama tries to carry out his campaign promises to make the country less dependent on foreign energy sources while reducing greenhouse gas emissions, Smith said. Ninety-seven percent of the gas the US consumes is produced domestically (with 27% coming from the West) and, since gas emits just over half the carbon dioxide of coal, it will become even more significant, he said.

Environmentalists
Western business leaders who commended Salazar's nomination decried attempts by some environmentalists to derail it. Although the group Earthworks applauds the nomination, some others—the Center for Biological Diversity, WildEarth Guardians, and Western Watersheds Project—want to derail it.

"Ken Salazar listens to all side of an issue," said Roundtable executive director Britt Weygandt. "It's unfortunate that there are extremist groups in the West that don't admire that quality in our government leaders. We do."

Urging the senate to approve Salazar, Waygandt said, "We look forward to continuing to find areas of agreement with the Obama administration and particularly with our new secretary of the Interior on water, public lands, energy policy, and endangered species regulation," she said. "We know that we will get a fair hearing even on those issues where we disagree."

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com

Related Articles

Victoria extends drilling, fracing ban

01/30/2015 The new Victorian Labor government of premier Daniel Andrews has extended the coal seam gas (CSG) exploration and hydraulic fracturing ban in the s...

US Senate passes bill approving Keystone XL pipeline project

01/30/2015 The US Senate has passed a bill approving construction of the proposed Keystone XL crude oil pipeline by a 62-36 vote after 3 weeks of debate. Nine...

Pennsylvania governor reinstates state forest drilling moratorium

01/29/2015 Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) signed an executive order fully reinstating a 2010 moratorium on new oil and gas leases in state forests and parks. ...

DOE could meet 45-day LNG export decision deadline, Senate panel told

01/29/2015 The US Department of Energy would have no trouble meeting a 45-day deadline to reach a national interest determination for proposed LNG export faci...

PHMSA outlines community steps to reduce pipeline incident risks

01/27/2015 The US Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration released a guide to best practices for communities to reduce risks from pipeline inci...

DOI’s 2017-22 draft proposed OCS program includes Mid-Atlantic sale

01/27/2015 The US Department of the Interior released a draft proposed 2017-22 Outer Continental Shelf management program that included 14 potential oil and g...

OGUK: Push to ban fracing in UK ‘ill-informed’

01/26/2015 The House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee’s proposed amendment to the infrastructure bill that would introduce a moratorium on hydraulic f...

Obama administration proposes making ANWR Coastal Plain wilderness

01/26/2015 The Obama administration said it will propose managing more of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, including its Coastal Plain, as wilderness. Ala...

White House orders steps to curb oil and gas methane emissions

01/26/2015 The Obama administration set a new goal to cut methane emissions from the oil and gas sector from 2012 levels by 40-45% by 2025, and a set of actio...
White Papers

Pipeline Integrity: Best Practices to Prevent, Detect, and Mitigate Commodity Releases

Commodity releases can have catastrophic consequences, so ensuring pipeline integrity is crucial for p...
Sponsored by

AVEVA’s Digital Asset Approach - Defining a new era of collaboration in capital projects and asset operations

There is constant, intensive change in the capital projects and asset life cycle management. New chall...
Sponsored by

Transforming the Oil and Gas Industry with EPPM

With budgets in the billions, timelines spanning years, and life cycles extending over decades, oil an...
Sponsored by

Asset Decommissioning in Oil & Gas: Transforming Business

Asset intensive organizations like Oil and Gas have their own industry specific challenges when it com...
Sponsored by

Squeezing the Green: How to Cut Petroleum Downstream Costs and Optimize Processing Efficiencies with Enterprise Project Portfolio Management Solutions

As the downstream petroleum industry grapples with change in every sector and at every level, includin...
Sponsored by

7 Steps to Improve Oil & Gas Asset Decommissioning

Global competition and volatile markets are creating a challenging business climate for project based ...
Sponsored by

The impact of aging infrastructure in process manufacturing industries

Process manufacturing companies in the oil and gas, utilities, chemicals and natural resource industri...
Sponsored by

What is System Level Thermo-Fluid Analysis?

This paper will explain some of the fundamentals of System Level Thermo-Fluid Analysis and demonstrate...
Available Webcasts


Cognitive Solutions for Upstream Oil and Gas

When Fri, Jun 12, 2015

The oil & gas sector is under pressure on all sides. Reserves are limited and it’s becoming increasingly expensive to find and extract new resources. Margins are already being squeezed in an industry where one wrong decision can cost millions. Analyzing data used in energy exploration can save millions of dollars as we develop ways to predict where and how to extract the world’s massive energy reserves.

This session with IBM Subject Matter Experts will discuss how IBM Cognitive Solutions contribute to the oil and gas industry using predictive analytics and cognitive computing, as well as real time streaming for exploration and drilling.

register:WEBCAST


The Alternative Fuel Movement: Four Need-to-Know Excise Tax Complexities

When Thu, Jun 4, 2015

Discussion on how to approach, and ultimately embrace, the alternative fuel market by pulling back the veil on excise tax complexities. Taxes may be an aggravating part of daily operations, but their accuracy is crucial in your path towards business success.

register:WEBCAST



On Demand

Prevention, Detection and Mitigation of pipeline leaks in the modern world

Thu, Apr 30, 2015

Preventing, detecting and mitigating leaks or commodity releases from pipelines are a top priority for all pipeline companies. This presentation will look at various aspects related to preventing, detecting and mitigating pipeline commodity releases from a generic and conceptual point of view, while at the same time look at the variety of offerings available from Schneider Electric to meet some of the requirements associated with pipeline integrity management. 

register:WEBCAST


Global LNG: Adjusting to New Realities

Fri, Mar 20, 2015

Oil & Gas Journal’s March 20, 2015, webcast will look at how global LNG trade will be affected over the next 12-24 months by falling crude oil prices and changing patterns and pressures of demand. Will US LNG production play a role in balancing markets? Or will it add to a growing global oversupply of LNG for markets remote from easier natural gas supply? Will new buyers with marginal credit, smaller requirements, or great need for flexibility begin to look attractive to suppliers? How will high-cost, mega-projects in Australia respond to new construction cost trends?

register:WEBCAST


Careers at TOTAL

Careers at TOTAL - Videos

More than 600 job openings are now online, watch videos and learn more!

 

Click Here to Watch

Other Oil & Gas Industry Jobs

Search More Job Listings >>
Stay Connected