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Ken Salazar to Step Down as Interior Secretary

Dept of the Interior(WASHINGTON) -- Interior Secretary Ken Salazar will not be sticking around for much of President Obama's second term.

An Interior Department official confirms to ABC News that Salazar will leave the Obama administration at the end of March and return to his native Colorado.

Salazar, 57, served as a senator from The Centennial State from 2005 to 2009 before being chosen to join the president's cabinet.

In a statement Wednesday, President Obama thanked Salazar “for his hard work and leadership on behalf of the American people.”

“As the Secretary of the Interior, Ken has helped usher in a new era of conservation for our nation’s land, water, and wildlife,” the president’s statement said. “Ken has played an integral role in my Administration’s successful efforts to expand responsible development of our nation’s domestic energy resources.  In his work to promote renewable energy projects on our public lands and increase the development of oil and gas production, Ken has ensured that the Department’s decisions are driven by the best science and promote the highest safety standards.  Ken has also made historic strides  in strengthening our nation to nation relationship with Indian Country, helping to resolve longstanding disputes and make tribal communities safer and stronger. I have valued Ken’s friendship since we both entered the Senate in 2005, and I look forward to receiving his counsel even after he returns to his home state of Colorado.”

Salazar's departure was first reported by the Denver Post.

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