Fixing Interior

Dec 17, 2008


Mr. Salazar’s most urgent task will be to remove the influence of politics and ideology from decisions that are best left to science.

… Mr. Salazar’s second big task will be to achieve a rational balance between the department’s oil and gas leasing program and its obligation to protect environmentally sensitive lands and the wildlife that depend on them. Reconciling energy and environmental demands has never been easy, but some interior secretaries — notably Bruce Babbitt, who served under President Bill Clinton — have proceeded with greater care than others.

Mr. Bush’s Interior Department, driven largely by Vice President Dick Cheney’s drill-here, drill-now energy strategy, has aggressively issued new leases and drilling permits in areas that not only deserve to be left alone but that also, even if fully exploited, would add only marginally to the nation’s energy supply.