[env-trinity] NY Times Editorial on Interior Secretary

Byron Leydecker bwl3 at comcast.net
Thu Mar 12 11:42:07 PDT 2009

 <http://www.nytimes.com/> New York Times


Mr. Salazar's Repair Mission 

Published: March 11, 2009 

Ken Salazar, the new secretary of the interior, has been working overtime
amending or suspending bad policies dumped on the public during the Bush
administration's waning days. That may not be entirely fulfilling for
someone eager to put his stamp on policy. But it is necessary work and, with
one disappointing exception - his decision to uphold a Bush rule removing
protections from certain wolf populations - very welcome. 

Mr. Salazar's efforts have received strong support from President Obama. At
the Interior Department's 160th anniversary celebration, the president
pledged that the department's scientists - muzzled and overruled during the
Bush years - would be respected. He directed Mr. Salazar to review a Bush
rule giving federal agencies far too much latitude to move ahead with
projects that could harm threatened or endangered species without first
consulting departmental scientists. 

Mr. Salazar can't reverse the rule, but he can ignore it while he decides
whether to ask Congress to overturn it or begin a new rulemaking process. In
the interim, species will receive the protections they always have. 

Mr. Salazar has made real progress on other fronts. He has already cancelled
some environmentally unsound oil and gas leases in Utah, and he has put the
brakes on oil shale and offshore oil drilling initiatives.

Oil shale is seen by some as a kind of energy holy grail, even though nobody
has figured out a clean, cost-effective way to extract it. Mr. Salazar has
suspended some small leases and pledged to rethink the Bush plan to set
aside two million acres of public land for future production. He says he is
open to research, but dismissed as "fantasy" the idea that oil shale is a

He also rejected Bush administration plans to open vast coastal waters to
oil and gas drilling. He agreed that some drilling was inevitable but
ordered more time for public comment, promised an updated assessment of
reserves and insisted on a broader strategy that would harness power from
wind, waves and currents. 

We hope that in the course of setting his new strategy Mr. Salazar will halt
plans for drilling in sensitive and previously untapped Alaskan waters,
especially Bristol Bay. We also urge him not to forget the wolf. 

The Interior Department's scientists say that wolf populations are healthy
enough, and state protections strong enough, to take the animal off the
endangered species list in Montana and Idaho. We do not share their
confidence in the states. De-listing allows for some hunting, and hunters in
both places are itching to start firing away. Mr. Salazar should be ready to
restore protections the instant the long-term survival of the species seems
at risk.


Byron Leydecker, JcT

Chair, Friends of Trinity River

PO Box 2327

Mill Valley, CA 94942-2327

415 383 4810 land

415 519 4810 cell

 <mailto:bwl3 at comcast.net> bwl3 at comcast.net

 <mailto:bleydecker at stanfordalumni.org> bleydecker at stanfordalumni.org

 <http://fotr.org/> http://www.fotr.org 




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