Solar, wind companies sad to see Ken Salazar go
By Kent Hoover
Washington Bureau Chief
Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar made it official: He's leaving the Obama administration by the end of March.
The solar and wind power industries are losing one of the best friends they ever had in Washington, D.C., with the departure of Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar.
The oil industry, by contrast, is probably happy to see him go.
Salazar made his departure from President Barack Obama's Cabinet official this morning, announcing plans to return to his Colorado ranch by the end of March.
“I have had the privilege of reforming the Department of the Interior to help lead the United States in securing a new energy frontier, ushering in a conservation agenda for the 21st century, and honoring our word to the nation’s first Americans,” Salazar said.
He promised to help his successor achieve a "seamless transition" for the department in the months ahead. There's no word on who that successor will be, but odds are it will be somebody from the West -- that's where most of the public lands overseen by the department are. Plus, don't look for any big changes in agency policy -- whoever heads Interior will follow an agenda set by Obama.
That agenda puts a lot of emphasis on developing renewable energy in the U.S. While the Department of Energy got lots of headlines -- many of them not good -- for doling out millions of dollars to alternative energy companies like Solyndra, Salazar was quietly turning our nation's public lands into a major source of renewable energy. Since 2009, the Department of Interior has authorized 34 solar, wind and geothermal projects that will generate enough electricity to power 3 million homes.
"Today, the largest solar energy projects in the world are under construction on America's public lands in the West, and we've issued the first leases for offshore wind in the Atlantic," Salazar said.
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