Roundtable Discussion on Renewable Energy

Posted by Brad Johnson Wed, 09 Feb 2011 14:00:00 GMT

The two-day conference will bring together stakeholders from across the government, renewable energy industry, and conservation community to discuss the administration’s efforts to rapidly and responsibly stand-up renewable energy projects on our nation’s public lands.

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, Secretary of Energy Steven Chu and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack will open the workshop with a roundtable discussion about the Administration’s work to build a clean energy economy. Immediately following the roundtable, the Secretaries will hold a press conference to discuss how President Obama’s tax cuts are encouraging business investment and job creation in wind, solar and other renewable energy technologies.

Roundtable Discussion with Secretaries Salazar, Chu, Vilsack
  • Ken Salazar, Secretary of the Interior
  • Steven Chu, Secretary of Energy
  • Tom Vilsack, Secretary of Agriculture

10:15 a.m. Press Conference

Department of the Interior Yates Auditorium
1849 C St., NW
Washington, D.C. 20240

All credentialed media are invited to cover the event. Please RSVP to

WonkLine: April 4, 2009 1

Posted by Wonk Room Tue, 07 Apr 2009 13:53:00 GMT

From the Wonk Room.

Windmills off the East Coast could generate enough electricity to replace most, if not all, the coal-fired power plants in the United States,” Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said Monday. “It is not technology that is pie-in-the sky; it is here and now.”

In a letter to Science not available to the public, prominent climate scientists argue “it is imperative we improve the exchange of information between scientists and public stakeholders.”

As Antarctic ice shelves crumble at the end of the southern summer, the northern summer begins with the Arctic “on thinner ice than ever before,” with 90 percent of sea ice less than three years old.

Salazar Announces Change from 'Headlong Rush' into Offshore Drilling

Posted by Brad Johnson Wed, 11 Feb 2009 22:28:00 GMT

From the Wonk Room.

Ken SalazarAnnouncing that “the time for reform has arrived,” Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar set aside the Bush administration’s “midnight timetable” for offshore drilling. “On Friday, January 16, its last business day in office,” Salazar explained in his Feburary 10th press conference, “the Bush Administration proposed a new five year plan for offshore oil and gas leasing.” The Bush plan called for the completion of meetings and hearings by March 23. Salazar decried this “broken process”:

It was a headlong rush of the worst kind. It was a process rigged to force hurried decisions based on bad information. It was a process tilted toward the usual energy players while renewable energy companies and the interests of American consumers and taxpayers were overlooked.

Salazar announced he “will extend the public comment period by 180 days, get a report on offshore energy resources, hold regional conferences and expedite rulemaking for offshore renewable energy resources.”

Salazar made it clear that his definition of “energy independence” does not mean a “drill only” future. He rebuked the “oil and gas or nothing” approach of the Bush administration, who ignored the Energy Policy Act of 2005’s mandate to develop regulations for offshore renewables:
I intend to do what the Bush Administration refused to do: build a framework for offshore renewable energy development, so that we incorporate the great potential for wind, wave, and ocean current energy into our offshore energy strategy. The Bush Administration was so intent on opening new areas for oil and gas offshore that it torpedoed offshore renewable energy efforts.

Obama Selects Vilsack for Agriculture, Salazar for Interior

Posted by Brad Johnson Wed, 17 Dec 2008 19:44:00 GMT

From the transition team:
In announcing Colorado Senator Ken Salazar as his choice for Secretary of the Interior and Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack for Secretary of Agriculture, President-elect Barack Obama made clear he considers both Secretaries-designate to be key members of his energy and environment team.

“It’s time for a new kind of leadership in Washington that’s committed to using our lands in a responsible way to benefit all our families,” President-elect Obama said. “That is the kind of leadership embodied by Ken Salazar and Tom Vilsack.”

In their remarks, Secretaries-designate Salazar and Vilsack both emphasized their commitment to focusing on energy issues.

“I look forward to working directly with President-elect Obama as an integral part of his team as we take the moon shot on energy independence,” Secretary-designate Salazar said. “That energy imperative will create jobs here in America, protect our national security, and confront the dangers of global warming.”

Secretary-designate Vilsack spoke of his commitment to “promote American leadership in response to global climate change,” and declared his intent to “place nutrition at the center of all food programs administered by the Department.”

At the Nation, John Nichols criticizes the selection of Vilsack as “at best, a cautious pick,” saying “Obama could have done better, much better.” Nichols pointed to progressive food politics leaders such as writer Michael Pollan, Tom Buis, the president of the National Farmers Union, Wisconsin Secretary of Agriculture Rod Nilsestuen or North Dakota Commissioner of Agriculture Roger Johnson.
Even more impressive would have been former North Dakota Commissioner of Agriculture Sarah Vogel, an always-ahead-of-the-curve advocate for food safety and fair trade. The same can be said for Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie, a former policy analyst in Minnesota’s Department of Agriculture who co-founded and for many years led the Minneapolis-based Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy.

(Buis praised Vilsack’s selection in the New York Times and Washington Post.)

The Center for Biological Diversity calls Sen. Salazar’s record “especially weak in the arenas most important to the next Secretary of the Interior: protecting scientific integrity, combating global warming, reforming energy development and protecting endangered species.”

In contrast, the League of Conservation Voters calls both “skilled, knowledgeable leaders committed to protecting our environment and rebuilding our economy with clean, renewable energy.”

At the New Republic, Bradford Plumer delves into the scandal-ridden Department of Interior Salazar will inherit.