On the Outside Looking Interior

By December 17, 2008Energy, Global Warming

More reports this morning that Colorado Sen. Ken Salazar, a Democrat, is likely to be Secretary of Interior in an Obama Administration. The Washington Post’s Juliet Eilperin highlights his bipartisan, moderate, reaching-out, working-with-everyone credentials. And the independent oil producers say good things:

Marc W. Smith, executive director for the Independent Petroleum Association of Mountain States, noted that Salazar has backed offshore drilling for oil and gas and supported the use of natural gas as a backstop for renewable energy supplies because it burns cleaner than petroleum.

“More often than not, we agree on the goal, but as expected, we aren’t always going to agree on the approach,” Smith said in an interview. “He certainly understands that natural gas is a central element of a long-term national energy supply.”

Senator Salazar’s NAM “Key Vote” percentage in the 109th Congress was 37 percent, and in the 110th Congress it was 23 percent. You can see those key votes here.

We also broke out his “Key Votes” on energy and environmental-related legislation (since Lieberman-Warner cap-and-trade would have been especially damaging to the energy sector). Combining both the 109th and 110th Congress, Senator Salazar voted with the NAM’s preferred position four times and against the preferred position 10 times, which is a 29 percent support record. You can see those votes here. You can also see his press statements on energy and land-use policy on his website here.

Judging an Interior Secretary on the basis of energy alone is too narrow, of course, since the agency has many other policy portfolios. In any case, it appears energy policy will be run out of the White House in conjunction with environmental policy.

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