After almost one year at the helm of the U.S. Interior Department, Ken Salazar is still working to make good on his pledge to clean up an agency stricken by scandal and criticized as beholden to interests that harm the environment. Entering his second year, Salazar is expected to announce reforms to the way energy leases are issued on federal lands and how endangered species are protected. That’s according to an interview of Salazar by The Associated Press in which the rancher and former Colorado senator acknowledges “a tough year,” adding, however, “What President Obama asked me to do when he brought me there was to reform the department and fix problems.” Salazar has faced criticism from opposite ends of the spectrum: oil-and gas-interests, after he suspended some Bush administration leases, and environmentalists, for failing to protect species such as the gray wolf.
Jamie Rappaport Clark, executive vice president for Defenders of Wildlife and a former director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, notes in a guest editorial for The Washington Post that “just three days after the president pledged to strengthen and restore scientific integrity to implementation of the Endangered Species Act, Secretary Salazar removed federal protection from gray wolves in the Northern Rockies.” The wolf is one of a handful of species that got the shaft under Salazar’s watch—as well as in recent years, according to Nicole Rosmarino, the director of the wildlife program for WildEarth Guardians (via dscriber).
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