Energy & Environment

Actually, if Ken Salazar had his way we’d already have $9 per gallon gas

In a recent interview, Department of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar claimed that “no one knows” if gasoline prices in the United States will reach $9 per gallon. “I don’t think anyone can speculate what will happen with respect to oil prices and gas prices because they are set on the global economy.”

This is true. Then again, erecting roadblocks to domestic production is part of the global economic picture. And Ken Salazar has done exemplary work in that regard.

His comments reminded me, in fact, that as a senator Salazar famously offered the nation a clear picture of his energy priorities. Salazar wouldn’t do anything about $9 gas because he wouldn’t remove government restrictions even if you were faced with $10 gas. Just watch this video from 2008.

Salazar is solar-powered phony, even by the high standards of Washington. I recall covering his 2004 senate campaign in Colorado, where he ran on an anti-energy plank with the slogan, “Fighting for Colorado’s Land, Water and People” (“people” coming in a distant third, I assure you). Watching the high-powered Denver lawyer ride around the state pandering in cowboy hat and pickup truck was something else. His grasp of policy, though, was negligible.

And though, I’m probably less inclined to blame high oil prices on government policy than most readers, Salazar has done as much as he can for the cause.

Though Salazar only served a part of single term in the Senate for the land, water or even the people of Colorado, he did bring a cabinet-level inanity to Washington. Under his watch, fossil fuel production is at a nine-year low. He was a disaster during the BP oil spill. He reportedly said that government should “keep the boot on their throat” on BP even as clean up was ongoing.

It was Salazar who was behind the bogus scientific justification for the offshore drilling moratorium. No one has gotten to the bottom of that one yet. Salazar continued  moratoriums on deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, even though a federal judge (twice) ruled that the moratorium was illegal.

Here is ThinkProgress celebrating Salazar’s regressive energy approach. Some highlights:

– He suspended 77 controversial oil and gas leases in Utah, some of them near national parks and national monuments.

– Understanding that renewable energy projects create more jobs than fossil fuels development, he directed his agencies to make the development of renewable energy a priority.

– He withdrew the Bush administration’s industry-friendly research and development leases for oil shale development in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming.

– He launched a department-wide effort to ensure that federal land management decisions respond effectively to climate change.

Salazar has spent his public life supporting policies that make energy more expensive. (It’s the goal of many in this administration.) It’s something we need to be reminded of every time he claims it has got nothing to do with him. Even if it doesn’t, it’s not for a lack of trying.

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