As actual proponents of an all-of the above energy policy for the United States of America, we read the news of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar’s impending approval of drilling leases in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas as good news for that state and for our nation as a whole. However, yet again, we are left wondering when exactly Ken Salazar is going to deliver for his home state when it comes to pushing back against radical environmentalists who he seems to concede exist solely for the purpose of suing federal agencies over land use decisions.
Said another way: if Salazar is willing to stand up to environmental activists in Alaska, why won’t he do it in Colorado?
While the election-year conversion on off-shore drilling is certainly welcome news, it does very little to demonstrate a willingness on the part of the Secretary to take his boot off the throat of the coal, oil-shale and even natural gas industries operating and exploring in Colorado. In fact, every indication communities around the state have received from their home-town Secretary consists of hostile actions in the form of restrictive resource management plans, flawed environmental analysis and a complete unwillingness to consider the socio-economic impact of his agency’s actions across the board.
One would assume that Salazar became acutely aware of the power of his pen when he implemented the offshore drilling moratorium in the immediate aftermath of the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. What doesn’t seem to register in the cavernous offices of the Department of Interior is how communities reliant upon development of federal land in Colorado are just as susceptible to economic ruin as communities on the Gulf were following the BP debacle. And from Craig to Cortez, communities are longing for relief.
If Salazar or any of his top lieutenants took time to get out of the beltway long enough to spend time in a BLM field office, they would understand the outright hostility job creators in the West face in dealing with bureaucrats that feel empowered to ignore the law in favor of analysis paralysis.