Interior Secretary Salazar To Return Home To Colorado

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced Wednesday that he will return to his home state of Colorado, having fulfilled his promise to President Obama to serve four years as Secretary. Secretary Salazar has informed President Obama that he intends to leave the Department by the end of March. 

“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. “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,” said Mr. 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.” 

Secretary Salazar has helped usher in a new era of conservation to protect America’s lands, wildlife, and heritage. Under the banner of President Obama’s America’s Great Outdoors program, Interior has established ten national wildlife refuges and seven national parks since 2009; established forward-thinking protections for wildlife and preserved millions of acres of land; and implemented community-driven, science-based conservation strategies that take into account entire ecosystems and working landscapes. 

“From the Crown of the Continent in Montana to the prairie grasslands of Kansas to the Everglades Headwaters in Florida, we are partnering with landowners, farmers, and ranchers to preserve their way of life and the irreplaceable land and wildlife that together we cherish,” Mr. Salazar said. “We have established an enduring vision for conservation in the 21st century that recognizes all people from all walks of life.” 

Under Secretary Salazar’s leadership, Interior has played a keystone role in developing a secure energy future for the United States, both for renewable and conventional energy. Since 2009, Interior has authorized 34 solar, wind and geothermal energy projects on public lands that total 10,400 megawatts - or enough to power over three million homes. Mr. Salazar also oversaw a visionary blueprint for solar energy development in the West and established the nation’s first program for offshore wind leasing and permitting in America’s oceans. 

“Today, the largest solar energy projects in the world are under construction on America’s public lands in the West, and we’ve issued the first leases for offshore wind in the Atlantic,” said Mr. Salazar. “I am proud of the renewable energy revolution that we have launched.” 

Mr. Salazar has also undertaken an historic overhaul of Interior’s management of oil and gas resources, implementing tough new ethics standards for all employees. He led Interior’s response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and split the former Minerals Management Service into three independent agencies with clear, independent missions to oversee ocean energy management and revenue collection. Interior has offered millions of acres offshore in the Gulf of Mexico for safe and responsible exploration and development and is proceeding with cautious exploration of Arctic resources. Onshore, Interior has also leased millions of acres for oil and gas development over the last four years while protecting special landscapes for hunting and fishing and other uses. 

“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 Mr. 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.” 

Secretary Salazar’s term was marked by historic progress for Indian Country with the passage of the Cobell settlement that honorably and responsibly addressed long-standing injustices regarding the U.S. government’s trust management. The President also signed into law six Indian water rights settlements, totaling over $1 billion, that will help deliver clean drinking water to tribal communities and provide certainty to water users across the West. Mr. Salazar spearheaded a sweeping reform – the first in 50 years – of federal surface leasing regulations for American Indian lands that will streamline the approval process for home ownership, expedite economic development, and spur renewable energy in Indian Country. 

“President Obama has made it a priority to empower our nation’s first Americans by helping to build stronger, safer and more prosperous tribal communities,” Mr. Salazar said. “This administration has been marked by a renewed commitment to honoring a nation-to-nation relationship and ensuring tribes have a greater role in federal decisions affecting Indian Country.” 

Mr. Salazar, a fifth-generation Coloradoan, has served his state and the nation for 14 continuous years as Colorado Attorney General, United States Senator and as the 50th secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior. 

Claire Henley: Adventures West (The Honeyspooners)

(Editor's Note: Chattanoogan Claire Henley started an adventure of a lifetime on the remote Pacific Crest Trail in April. Along the way, she had many adventures and found herself a husband named Big Spoon). “They would not find me changed from him they knew—Only more sure of all I thought was true.” -Robert Frost, “Into my Own” Once Big Spoon and I got married, we became ... (click for more)

Battle Of Ringgold Reenactment Will Be Held Oct. 9-11

The Battle of Ringgold Gap Civil War Reenactment will take place Oct. 9, 10 and 11.  The event will close Robin Road between Alabama Highway 151 and Lafayette Street to accommodate the soldiers' camps and parking for the event. Reenactors will begin camping and setting up on Friday, Oct. 9 and open their camps to visitors at 1 p.m.  The reenactment will take place ... (click for more)

Toddler Killed In Car Accident On Boy Scout Road Friday Morning

A toddler was killed in an auto accident Friday morning.  Hamilton County Sheriff’s deputies responded to an accident with injuries at the 1000 block of Boy Scout Road at approximately 11 a.m. on Friday. Upon arrival, deputies found a single car accident involving four passengers. Three of the four passengers were transported to a local hospital and the ... (click for more)

Triple Murder Suspect, Top 10 Most Wanted Fugitive, Captured In New Orleans

Less than a day after being placed on the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation’s Top 10 Most Wanted list, Daniel Lee Henry was captured Saturday night in New Orleans, La.  Shortly after 8:30 CST, Henry, 38, was taken into custody without incident at a hotel by authorities from the United States Marshals Service Task Force, which includes law enforcement officers from the New ... (click for more)

We Can Do Something About Mass Shootings - And Response (2)

A friend posted his observation this morning that there was paranoia about reasonable gun laws. I know his heart is saying we have to do something about these mass shootings. Then while scanning the morning news shows I watched a pile o’ pundits from Al Sharpton to Donald Trump pontificate on doing “something” about the problem. Personally, I think there are plenty of gun control ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: How We Learned To Play

A couple of years ago I was reading a fascinating story that asserted the “Little Rascals” taught generations of children how to play with each other. When the comedy show about children in a poor neighborhood originated in 1922, there were just silent movies but in 1929, when the “talkies” were introduced, children and adults alike were mesmerized by the wonderful humor that producer ... (click for more)