Cape Wind, the Massachusetts pioneering and environmentally daring enterprise trying to build 130 turbines in Nantucket Bay, is now facing its last hurdle. Or breathing its last breath. All of this is in a fascinating dispatch by Beth Daley in the Boston Globe. I've written about this undertaking several times as the initiative was put through the ropes of both privilege of the very rich and the antiquated technologies of protected corporations.
WASHINGTON -- A politically shrewd Senate Democratic staff member chatting about the future of health care negotiations stopped in midsentence late Tuesday afternoon as news flashed across his computer screen. "My God," he said. "Byron Dorgan is retiring." It was a thunderclap moment in the politics of 2010, an unfortunate twist for Democrats already looking at a difficult election year.
Michael A. Livermore is the executive director of the Institute for Policy Integrity at New York University School of Law. He is the author, along with Richard L. Revesz, of Retaking Rationality: How Cost-Benefit Analysis Can Better Protect the Environment and Our Health. Last summer, when oil prices shot past $140 per barrel, offshore oil drilling became the biggest topic in politics for a short while. In the months leading up to the election, congressional Democrats went ahead and let the offshore-drilling moratoria expire—kicking the issue up to the administration.
The honeymoon between environmental groups and the Obama Interior Department is now decidedly over, at least when it comes to endangered-species protections. As Daniel Schulman reports over at Mother Jones, the Interior Department’s Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) has decided not to add the yellow-billed loon to the endangered-species list, instead putting it on a waiting list of species to be given official endangered status once the agency can come up with guidelines for their protection.
So Ken Salazar's officially the new Interior secretary. The New York Times has a quick round-up of both enviros and mining interests offering cautious praise. To be honest, I don't really have a good sense for Salazar, and his record's fairly ambiguous, but I wrote a short web piece for TNR today trying to explore why the Interior Department has become so wildly dysfunctional, and what it will take to fix it. --Bradford Plumer
If the news reports are accurate, Senator Ken Salazar of Colorado has been tapped by Barack Obama to head up the Department of Interior. Let's hope he knows what he's getting into. After the last eight years, the Interior Department has become fairly dysfunctional, and this may end up being one of the most difficult jobs in the Obama administration—not to mention one that gets remarkably little attention. Looking back historically, the Interior Department has been a mess from the very beginning.
NAME: Ken Salazar AGE: 53 NEW APPOINTMENT: Secretary of the Interior (expected) OTHER TOP POSITIONS: Senator from Colorado (2005-present); Colorado's Attorney General (1998-2004); Director of the Colorado Department of Natural Resources (1990-1994) KNOWN FOR: Creating Greater Outdoors Colorado (GOCO), a massive land conservation program funded through a state lottery; Acting as a member of the bipartisan Gang of 14, which helped push through several of Bush's judicial nominees; Criticizing the fast-tracking of oil shale leasing in Colorado. CONTROVERSIES: He seems prone to picking poor allie
The WP is almost-reporting that Obama will likely choose Ken Salazar as his Secretary of the Interior, and the Rocky Mountain News is calling it "a done deal." In some ways, the appointment would be a very smart political move: Salazar (whom I almost worked for long ago) can act as Obama's sherpa on the water, agriculture, and land-use issues that Democrats need to master if they want to build on their majorities in the Mountain West.
As some of you may recall, I kept on advising Barack Obama to pick Senator Ken Salazar as his running-mate. (Now, don't get me wrong: I'm more than satisfied by Obama's choice of Joe Biden.) The truth is that I also wrote to Obama privately but didn't get any response. And why should I have? In any case, it seems that the president-elect is about to designate Salazar as his secretary of the interior. When Salazar talks about the American land he is inspired, and inspired in a way that reminds me of Theodore Roosevelt. Salazar comes from Colorado. His family has been there since long before
I've been pushing--not that anyone seems to care--Ken Salazar as the ideal Democratic nominee for vice president. He has many relevant qualities, including that he has had a great deal of experience in state politics (he was attorney general of Colorado), which should commend him. He is an Hispanic American whose family has lived in his state long before it was a state. That's American aristocracy, with a homey touch. By the way, his brother is also in politics, being a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He is bright, articulate, moderate.