What Environmentalists Really Think of Ken Salazar

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As you may have read, Sen. Ken Salazar (D-Colo.) has been tapped as President Obama’s Secretary of the Interior. And as we’ve reported previously, the Interior secretary post is a major one in terms of the nation’s environmental health. The Interior (and by default, its secretary) governs the management of public lands, national parks, oil and gas resources, and even the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and U.S. Geological Survey.

Environmentalists were pushing for Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.), a staunch conservationist. So what’s their consensus on Salazar? You can read their various statements, below. Overall, they seem cautiously optimistic. But then, it would be hard not to be buoyed by Salazar when you’re comparing him to predecessors like mining advocate and former chemical company lobbyist Gale Norton.

Center for Biological Diversity: “He is a right-of-center Democrat who often favors industry and big agriculture… He is very unlikely to bring significant change to the scandal-plagued Department of Interior. It’s a very disappointing choice…” –Kieran Suckling, executive director, via New York Times.

Sierra Club: “He has been a very vocal critic of the Bush administration’s reckless approach to rampant land development in the West.” –Josh Dorner, a spokesman, via the UK Guardian.

Wilderness Society: “He’s going to be an honest broker… He is trying to manage conflicts in a way that reaches resolution. I’m not sure he’s articulated a grand vision for the public lands.” –Bill Meadows, president, via Washington Post.

“On a personal level, our experience has been that there is a genuine openness to [Salazar] considering different ideas..” –David Albersworth, senior policy analyst, via Rocky Mountain News.

Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility: Salazar is a “sympathetic soul” who will be a refreshing change because “the past eight years with the Bush administration have felt like a battle, then it became total despair.” –Karen Schambach, California coordinator, via the Los Angeles Times.

“Salazar has a disturbingly weak conservation record, particularly on energy development, global warming, endangered wildlife and protecting scientific integrity,” –Daniel R. Patterson, southwest regional director, via New York Times.

Environmental Working Group: “We’re encouraged by it… he recognizes the importance of the food programs, and he’s very good on conservation.” –Ken Cook, president, via the Washington Post.

Environment Colorado: “We hope he continues to play a role in insuring that, as we develop our mineral rights in these incredibly sensitive areas, we require industry to put in place safeguards that protect our health, environment, water and air quality,” –Pam Kiely, program director, via New York Times.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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