Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Restoring Order to a Broken Process

The last time I wrote a post on the new Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar, it was with a good deal less than enthusiasm. I was, in fact, dismayed at Obama's choice of Salazar to run this ultra-important environmental department. A small blurb today in Political Intelligence, a Boston Globe blog featuring reports from Boston Globe reporters and editors about the transition to the new administration and other national political happenings, may give me grounds to reconsider my initial opinion.

In the midst of all the brouhaha about the economic recovery plan, the new bailout billions, talking heads proposing numbers that my own head can't begin to encompass, this little headline brought me up short: Offshore Drilling Put On Hold. Wait, what? Short and sweet, just a couple of paragraphs, essentially this:

President Obama's new interior secretary announced today that he is putting on hold a plan approved by the Bush administration in its final days to open up huge stretches off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts to oil and gas drilling.
The article contains the text of Salazar's statement this morning, and it's certainly worth reading. He speaks of the Bush administration's "midnight action" just before he left office, opening up the possibility for oil and gas leasing along the entire eastern seaboard, portions of offshore California, and the far eastern Gulf of Mexico - with almost no consideration of state, industry, and community input and, in the case of the Atlantic coast, with very limited information about the nature of offshore resources, calling this plan:

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.
Interior is now putting this under-the-radar plan on hold while a four-step process of information gathering and public comment goes forward, with the intention of moving from the “oil and gas only” approach of the previous Administration to the comprehensive energy plan that we need. Salazar announces his intention of changing how the Department of the Interiof does business and says he's inviting everyone to the table. Let's hope that the air clears every now and then on the economic sturm und drang, so we can check in on this very good news every so often.
P.S. Here's a link to an NYT article on Salazar's statement that I just found.

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posted at 6:30:00 PM by marigolds2

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