President-elect Obama's choice of Colorado Sen. Ken Salazar to head the Department of the Interior was met with praise by those hoping to see another Latino in the cabinet, but is being met with concern by some environmentalists.
"The Department of the Interior desperately needs a strong, forward-looking, reform-minded secretary. Unfortunately, Ken Salazar is not that man," said Kieran Suckling, executive
director of the Tucson-based Center for Biological Diversity in a press release.
Chief among the concerns is that Salazar voted in 2006 to end protection from offshore oil drilling off Florida's coast. His stance on the issue is a bit murky, though: He voted against offshore drilling this summer but has supported other offshore drilling measures in the past. However, if anyone ever came up with a drilling plan that could potentially drench, say, Aspen ski slopes in black gold, we're sure Salazar couldn't vote against it fast enough.
The department under Bush has done quite a lot in expanding offshore
drilling, and has permitted exploration in the Gulf of Mexico.
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Thankfully, others in the incoming Obama administration do not support offshore drilling. Newly appointed energy czar, and Miami native, Carol Browner has said, "The idea that we are going to drill our way out of the problem is wrong."
Obama himself seems to be straddling the middle now. Some folks accused him of flipflopping late in the campaign when he said he'd be open to allowing more offshore drilling.