After unconfirmed reports from various news outlets this morning, US Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar officially announced today that he will leave the Department by the end of March, having fulfilled his promise to President Obama to serve four years as Secretary.
Salazar plans to return to his home state of Colorado.
“Colorado is and will always be my home. I look forward to returning to my family and Colorado after eight years in Washington, D.C.,” said Secretary Salazar in a press release. “I am forever grateful to President Obama for his friendship in the U.S. Senate and the opportunity he gave me to serve as a member of his cabinet during this historic presidency.”
“I have had the privilege of reforming the Department of the Interior to help lead the United States in securing a new energy frontier, ushering in a conservation agenda for the 21st century, and honoring our word to the nation’s first Americans,” added Salazar. “I thank the more than 70,000 employees at the Department for their dedication to our mission as custodians of America’s natural and cultural resources. I look forward to helping my successor in a seamless transition in the months ahead.”
In addition to the 34 solar, wind and geothermal energy projects authorized on public lands since 2009,
Salazar has also undertaken an overhaul of Interior’s management of oil and gas resources. He led Interior’s response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and split the former Minerals Management Service into three independent agencies to oversee ocean energy management and revenue collection.
“We have undertaken the most aggressive oil and gas safety and reform agenda in U.S. history, raising the bar on offshore drilling safety, practices and technology and ensuring that energy development is done in the right way and in the right places,” said Salazar. “Today, drilling activity in the Gulf is surpassing levels seen before the spill, and our nation is on a promising path to energy independence.”