Wild Horses rounded up by federal agency Bureau of Land Management. Google image.nded up by federal government agency, Bureau of Land Management. Google image.

Obama faces energy team shuffle that may result in Salazar resignation and Grijalva nomination

Ken Salazar. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar pauses during a Senate Committee hearing in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Andrew Restuccia reporting for Politico writes:

“President Barack Obama won four more years in Washington Tuesday, but his energy team likely won’t be sticking around for that long, setting up some bruising confirmation fights in the Senate.

“Democrats close to the Obama administration say Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson, Energy Secretary Steven Chu and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar could all step down during Obama’s second term, though the timing is far from certain.

“Of course, Democrats caution that nothing is set in stone and the politics of the second term, as well as the possibility of a lengthy confirmation battle over their replacements, could dictate who stays and who goes.” Read more >>

While this may music to the ears of wild horse and burro advocates regarding Salazar, it would be hasty to assume this would resolve all of the threats to the survival of America’s wild equines on public lands as it is not clear who Obama intends to nominate to take Salazar’s place if Salazar indeed leaves. It is not a given.

Another challenge, as cited in the Restuccia article, is the confirmation hearing which promises to be grueling and rash with political maneuvering.

With that said, the candidate that springs to mind among wild horse and burro advocates naturally for Interior Secretary is of course Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-7-AZ). They will be happy to know that his name is already beginning to take on some buzz inside the Beltway, but there may be other candidates up the President’s sleeve.

Who is Raúl Grijalva?

Rep Raul Grijalva at the podium. Google image.
Rep Raul Grijalva at the podium. Google image.

Congressman Raúl Grijalva has a winning resume for Interior Secretary, and the obvious choice in 2008 of many in Washington, and expectantly will be again this time around.

Rep. Grijalva began his public career as a community organizer and has worked his way up through the ranks, and that type of background appeals strongly to President Obama.

Elected to Congress in 2002, Rep. Grijalva earned early credit for his role in creating the Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan, which brought together business interests, landowners and environmentalists reports the New York Times. More recently, he challenged British Petroleum months before the accident in the Gulf of Mexico.

Rep. Grijalva serves on the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources and appointed Chairman of its National Parks, Forests and Public Lands Subcommittee. However, as a Democrat in a Republican House, he is currently its Ranking Member. The Subcommittee oversees 600 million acres of federal land. Also important, Congressman Grijalva serves on the Subcommittee on Water and Power.

In October 2008, Grijalva “published a 23-page report (‘a partial list’, he deemed it), outlining the Bush administration’s assaults on our national parks, forests and public lands.”

“That document wasn’t a mere Bush-bashing exercise,” reports Billie Stanton writing for the Tuscon Citizen, “it was a blueprint for how to remedy the havoc wrought and how to bring transparency, honesty, ethics and professionalism to the hideously corrupted Department of the Interior.”

Rep. Grijalva is also a member of the Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition and supporter of the Green Scissors plan (pdf) to cut $200 billion in government subsidies to industries such as coal, oil, gas and timber.

His voting on energy policy (see links in Related Reading below) lines up with much of Obama’s thinking, in particular renewable energy. This is key.

Conservation has always been high on the list of Rep. Grijalva’s priorities in Washington. His record clearly reflects this, and he is popular among a long list of advocates, including those of conservationists and wild horse and burro protectionists.

The League of Conservation Voters (LCV) Action Fund give Rep. Grijalva an inspiring LCV lifetime environmental score of 95% and a perfect 100% on LCV’s National Environmental Scorecard for his voting record in 2011.

This means that Rep. Grijalva clearly understands the link between the nurturing of America’s public lands through the sustaining environmental impact of free-roaming wild horses and burros (that will also by the way benefit the cattle and other wildlife foraging there).

Although energy will be the focus in selecting the next Interior Secretary, the Bureau of Land Management fall under the jurisdiction of the DOI, and the wild horses and burros fall under the oversight of the BLM.

Rep. Grijalva has shown himself to be an influential friend to the lands and wild equines who live on them, particularly in moments of crisis and addressed the Department of Interior on their behalf.

While Rep. Grijalva is a highly commendable candidate to replace Secretary Salazar, he may not be a popular choice of the gas, oil and mining industries, reckoned to be the most powerful lobby in Washington. Billie Stanton, writing for the Tuscon Citizen in 2008 in an article entitled, “Why did Obama forsake Grijalva?” suggests “He was too ‘green’ for gas, oil and mining interests” who “would do everything in their power to block Grijalva” according to a savvy political observer in southern Arizona.

Wild Horses needlessly rounded up by federal government agency, Bureau of Land Management. Google image.
Wild Horses needlessly rounded up by federal government agency, Bureau of Land Management. Google image.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

While we must be vigilant for these sorts of changes, more importantly and urgently, we must stay focused on the treatment of our wild horses and burros under the current regime, and continue to work hard for their protection and survival.

RELATED READING

Wild Horses and Burros

Congressman criticizes Nevada wild horse roundup; Tuesday’s Horse; Jun. 11, 2012

Letter (pdf) to Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar on the need for more humane horse management policies (signed by more than 60 Members of Congress); Jul. 28, 2011

Congressional wild horse champion rides to the rescue; Tuesday’s Horse; Jul. 8, 2011

Grijalva to host DC premiere of Kleinert’s Wild Horses & Renegades; Tuesday’s Horse; Jun. 22, 2011

Horse slaughter off the Washington radar too long says Rep. Grijalva; Jun. 8, 2011

Congressman Grijalva honors Cloud and all wild horses and burros; Tuesday’s Horse; May 5, 2011

Congressman Grijalva Votes to Save Wild Horses and Mustangs; News Release; Congressman Raul Grijalva website; Jul. 17, 2009

Energy

— See how Grijalva voted on energy issues at VoteSmart.org >>

— See how Grijalva voted on energy and oil issues at OnTheIssues.org >>

19 thoughts on “Obama faces energy team shuffle that may result in Salazar resignation and Grijalva nomination”

  1. Raul Gijalva is the man who should been placed in this position from the beginning, his devotion to our Wild mustangs is an awesome thing to behold, he understands what needs to be understood of our Mustangs , I could not think of a better man to care for Our Mustangs !!!!!!! Bravo Mr Grijalva !!!!! There is no doubt he will fill this position with everything good for our Mustangs I couldnt be happier !!!!

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  2. We have certainly thought this before and it has come to nothing so I hope we’re not being guilty of wishful thinking again. Besides, Grijalva was just re-elected and may not want to move to Interior. Here is a recent Politico article which mentions three other possibilities … “Among the options: former North Dakota Sen. Byron Dorgan, former Wyoming Gov. Dave Freudenthal and soon-to-be former Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire.”

    Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1112/83519_Page4.html#ixzz2Bl0vCYYU

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    1. We covered this mainly because it is appearing in social media that Salazar is gone etc. and asking people to contact the White House and “demand” that the President appoint Grijalva. This is misleading, not the way to go about it if it were true, and not helpful in any way to the wild horse and burro issue.

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  3. As far as, I’m concerned our Commander and Chief is most corrupt, but I say hooray for Rep. Grijalva, my heart aches for our American Icons, the Wild Mustangs, and other horses, that face slaughter, and abuse.

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  4. Salazar should be facing prosecution for crimes against the environment and most particularly for malicious injury to animals. Moreover, the American people are entitled to demand back the salary that was paid to this man on the grounds dereliction of duty and egregious irresponsiblity in representing the interests of the people.

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  5. “hideously corrupted Department of the Interior.” What a sad evaluation. What an embarassing statement of fact. Why can’t our govt. get better officials and decision-makers? What is the American standard??—too low to be judged and fired? That’s not my standard. Please get someone in who can FIX this. For the horses…….

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  6. Both Salazar and Jackson were complicit in the destruction of the Gulf of Mexico, they both should face indictment for malfeasance of office and other crimes. Pray this is true and they will be gone sooner rather than later.

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  7. It’s high times the DOI is equipped with the tools that do not lead this nation into complete exploitative chaos serving the big oil and gas’ agendas only. Balance is a reflection representing the interests of the people and inhabitants on our public lands, yet it has not been the main focus, put on the back burner or only resulted after long litigation. Balance is not a challenge that those with personal gain interests care for.
    The atrocious consequences for our future generations are cleverly masked under energy production – and all those in the way thereof must go, no matter who or what.
    It is time people’s voices are heard and demand our resources be protected more with an approach that is balance – the corruption and schemes of now are not sustainable and our country as a democracy on the chopping block.

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  8. Praying that Salazar will be fired before it’s too late for our wild horses. Grijalva would be an excellent Secretary of Interior.

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  9. I have no objections to sustainable energy plans that actually benefit (wait for it) American citizens. But there is so much more to sustainable energy than simply capitulating to the Same Old Power-and-Profit-Driven Same Old: Goodness, how the heck do you suppose we ended up here in the first place?

    There is a balance that can be met – ‘green’ energy industries that won’t tear up the landscapes, that can be profitable AND responsible and not require sacrificing either wild life or wilderness to do it. Many of us, despite our emotional (isn’t that how we’re characterized?) attachments to wildlife, have seen that bridge built.

    Rep. Grijalva is popular with his constituents and those of us ot here on the perameter because of his devotion to our natural heritage. It would be refreshing if, again in my lifetime, an Interior Secretary (as Jim Baca might have been, had he been given the chance) was actually interested in pursuing energy alternatives that don’t exclude preservation of Public Lands.

    And that wild horses and burros, after nearly 40 years, might actually see some parity? is just too cool for words.

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    1. Interesting that you like Baca when Babbit axed him. I’ve read some pretty good things about Babbit and the “Good Wolf” likes him too. I’m glad there are a number of candidates.

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