Interior Science: Acting responsibly on warming


Salazar has taken a wise step to help the country deal with the growing impacts of warming. He has issued a "secretarial order" creating a Climate Change Response Council. It will coordinate DOI agencies, including the Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service and the Forest Service, with state and local governments to "address current and future impacts of climate change on America's land, water, ocean, fish, wildlife, and cultural resources," monitor changes and collect data in eight regions and educate the public.

It's quite a change from the eight years of the Bush Interior Department, when coal and oil were Priority 1, years when climate change warnings were first ignored, then buried or doctored to downplay the looming crisis. That attitude of blithe ignorance would still be the order of the day if it were left to Republicans such as Utah's Sen. Orrin Hatch and Reps. Jason Chaffetz and Rob Bishop.

The three Utahns are among 16 Western Republicans who charge Salazar with trying to skirt the authority of Congress. Ironically, given widespread agreement among climate scientists that the American West will be one of the regions hit hardest by global warming, the 16 complain that "These regulations will hit the Western United States the hardest."