As gas prices hit $4 a gallon in some parts of the country , U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar was hammered in a hearing by Republicans claiming the Obama administration is causing the increase by standing in the way of oil-and-gas development. Salazar deflected numerous assaults, including Louisiana Congressman John Fleming's criticisms of tougher standards on drilling permits in the Gulf of Mexico, the blocking of the industry from the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and an "attack" on hydraulic fracturing (Hill ).
More slams came from Salazar's fellow Coloradans, U.S. Representatives Doug Lamborn, Mike Coffman, and Scott Tipton, all Republicans. "Instead of making it easier for Americans to develop American energy, this administration is increasing the cost of producing our own energy by tens of billions of dollars, making us even more dependent on foreign oil," Coffman said (Denver Post ). Salazar countered that drilling permits would rise this year as well as next, adding that the administration is also focused on creating renewable energy.