Entries in Ken Salazar (5)


Obama to Tap REI CEO as Interior Secretary

Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama will nominate Sally Jewell to be the next secretary of the interior, a senior White House official told ABC News.

Jewell is the CEO of REI, the outdoor recreational equipment retailer.  She has no political experience, but according to the Denver Post, she did spend five weeks hiking in Antarctica in 2011, climbing some of the continent’s most treacherous peaks.

Jewell will replace Ken Salazar, who has announced he will not stay for Obama’s second term. She is the first woman Obama has announced for his second-term cabinet.

The president will make the announcement Wednesday afternoon.

One senior official said this of the nomination: "It’s a cool idea."

"Sally Jewell is uniquely qualified to be secretary of the interior," another official offered. "With years of experience managing a nearly $2 billion a year company, she will bring to the position integrity, keen management skills, as well as dedication to the department’s mission of managing our nation’s lands. Trained as an engineer, Jewell has broad private sector experience in energy and finance, as well as a commitment to conservation."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


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.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Secretary Salazar Apologizes for Threatening to 'Punch Out' Reporter 

Dept of the Interior(WASHINGTON) -- Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar has apologized to a Colorado Springs newspaper reporter after ridiculing and physically threatening him during an encounter earlier this month at a campaign event for President Obama.

The exchange, caught on audiotape by Gazette reporter David Philipps and later posted online by the paper, reveals Salazar becoming aggressive after questions about the alleged sale of hundreds of federally protected wild horses for slaughter and whether additional safeguards are needed.

“Do you see any changes that need to take place in that system in terms of safeguarding those horses?” Philipps is heard asking.

Salazar replied calmly, pledging that the agency is “working on it very, very diligently.” But then, amid rustling of the recorder when it seems the interview had ended, Salazar delivered a threat.  

“You know what, never do that.  This is a – this is the Obama -- You know what, if you do that to me again, I’m going to punch you out. Ok?” Salazar told Philipps in the recording. “Don’t ever, ever, from the Gazette or anybody else do that to me again. Set me up. You know?”

Phillips defended himself, noting that Salazar was there “as a public figure” and that previous inquiries through the department’s press office were unanswered.

“I’m here for President Obama. I’m talking about the campaign. You want to talk to me about a public policy issue, you can do that on another time, in another place,” Salazar said.

Blake Androff, a spokesman for Salazar, told ABC News the secretary “regrets” the exchange and personally apologized to Philipps by phone yesterday.  A post on the Gazette’s website confirms that an apology was made both by phone and in writing.

“As I said to you by phone today, I apologize and regret the statement I made to you in Fountain, CO,” Salazar wrote in a letter posted on the site. “I also will be happy to speak with you officially on the BLM Wild Horse and Burro Program.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Salazar Defends Obama on Environment, Energy: We've Moved Out of 'Hummer Age'

Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Interior Secretary Ken Salazar Wednesday defended President Obama's record on the environment amid deepening criticism from green allies over a 2008 campaign promise to "end the tyranny of oil."

"It's like moving the Titanic," Salazar said of the administration's effort to work with Congress to build a "new energy framework."

"Notwithstanding that, we have made a lot of progress," he said. "As a U.S. senator, I remember using the statistic of our imports of 70 percent of oil from other countries. Today, our imports are down to less than 50 percent, the last figure I saw."

Salazar said Obama has moved the U.S. out of the "Hummer Age" -- referring to the gas-guzzing General Motors-made SUV -- by imposing sweeping new fuel efficiency standards for vehicles and promoting new technologies that allow some cars and trucks to run solely on renewable energy.

"I think that when the environmental community looks at what it is we've done to transform the energy reality, the energy future of the United States, I think they ought to say we've done a pretty good job," he said.

The comments came as the administration tangles with environmental activists over the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline that would run from Canada to the Texas gulf coast.

A coalition of groups filed a lawsuit in federal court Wednesday to block land-clearing for the project, which the State Department has not yet approved but which Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said she's "inclined" to do. They have also alleged bias and corruption in the administration's vetting process for the deal, charges that officials deny.

The issue has even spilled onto the campaign trail, when hecklers interrupted Obama during a St. Louis fundraiser Tuesday night, asking, "Will you stop the pipeline?" Obama continued undeterred except to say, "We've got a couple of people here who are concerned about the environment."

Critics say the issue is shaping up to be the clearest test of Obama's commitment to environmental policy after a string of decisions by his administration deeply opposed by green allies.

This week, the administration upheld 500 leases for drilling in the Arctic Ocean, while earlier this month it shelved new EPA standards for ozone emissions, which Obama said imposed undue regulatory burdens.

Many Republicans and oil industry groups support the pipeline, saying construction will create American jobs and lead to greater access to oil supplies for U.S. markets.

The administration is holding a public hearing on the pipeline on Friday. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is expected to rule on the matter before the end of the year. It's unclear whether or not Obama will get directly involved.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Interior Department Chief of Staff Leaving His Post

Photo Courtesy - DOI dot gov(WASHINGTON) -- Interior Department chief of staff Tom Strickland is leaving his post.

"I came to Washington to take on this job and help (Interior Department Secretary Ken Salazar) in the task of cleaning up this department," Strickland told the Denver Post. "We've had even more excitement and challenge than we bargained for....We always brought our best effort. We always tried to do right by the people."

Salazar told the newspaper, "I asked him not to leave. I begged him. I'll miss his 80-hour weeks. He wants to move forward and do another chapter."

ABC News reported last May that although his agency was charged with coordinating the federal response to the BP oil spill, Strickland traveled to the Grand Canyon with his wife participating in activities that included whitewater rafting three days after the leaks in the Deepwater Horizon pipeline were discovered.

Other leaders of the Interior Department were focused on the Gulf, joined by other agencies and literally thousands of other employees. The chief of staff’s trip raised eyebrows among other Obama administration officials and even within even his own department, sources told ABC News.

Ultimately, after the government realized that the spill was worse than had been previously thought, officials decided that Strickland was needed in the Gulf so Strickland was taken out of the Grand Canyon by a National Park Service helicopter.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio