HOWL Colorado

WildEarth Guardians Requesting Salazar’s Resignation

The WildEarth Guardians are asking Ken Salazar to come back to Colorado – by resigning his position as Interior Secretary and allow someone to take the job who does more than “wear a cowboy hat and talk tough in front of cameras.”

DENVER — Interior Secretary is visiting Colorado today, and the Colorado group WildEarth Guardians is urging him to come back home. WildEarth Guardians has written a letter to President Obama, requesting that Ken Salazar resign from the post of Interior Secretary, effectively returning the one-time Colorado Senator back to his home state.

“Ken, it’s time to come home. The country needs an Interior Secretary that will do more than wear a cowboy hat and talk tough in front of cameras,” said Nicole Rosmarino of WildEarth Guardians.

WildEarth Guardians’ letter has been signed by dozens of scientists and conservation groups and will be sent to President Obama at the end of this week. The letter details how, although he’s pledged to confront the climate crisis and despite rampant scandals within multiple agencies of the Interior Department, Secretary Salazar has failed to live up to his tough talk about being the “new sheriff in town.”

Two key agencies within Interior that were racked by scandal when the Obama administration took office – the Minerals Management Service (MMS) and the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) – continue to fall down on the job. Despite Mr. Salazar’s pledge in January 2009 to clean up MMS, the agency has shown a reckless lack of oversight of the oil and gas industry, leading up to and even after the disastrous collapse of BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico.

In addition, FWS and Secretary Salazar continue to delay endangered species protection for the 300 species that await protection as formal candidates for Endangered Species Act listing, some of which have been waiting for federal listing for decades. Secretary Salazar has also come under fire for his approval of the Bush administration’s decision to remove protections for gray wolves in much of the Northern Rockies. Since their legal protections were stripped away a year ago, more than 400 wolves have been killed in Idaho and Montana.

The letter discusses a gap between the words and actions of Secretary Salazar. While Mr. Salazar has named climate change, fueled by greenhouse gas emissions, as a crisis that needs to be confronted, he has allowed massive coal leasing in the Powder River Basin in Wyoming and Montana. Coal production and use in coal-fired power plants is the largest source of greenhouse gases in the U.S.

This gap between Mr. Salazar’s talk and actions is most vivid right now in the Gulf of Mexico. Despite his criticism of British Petroleum after the April 22, 2010 oil spill began, Secretary Salazar’s own department granted at least 27 exemptions from federal laws for oil drillers in the Gulf after the explosion and collapse of Deepwater Horizon.

Mr. Salazar’s form of policing outlaws seems to be to look the other way, but put on a brave face for the public. We can see the results plainly, from the oil- slicked waters of the Gulf of Mexico to the bloodstained backcountry of the Northern Rockies. It’s time for a new sheriff who will stand up to outlaws with courage and resolve,” stated Rosmarino.

Contact: Dr. Nicole Rosmarino, WildEarth Guardians, (505) 699-7404

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