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Proposed Interior Secretary Salazar: Obama's Most Controversial Cabinet Choice?

Questions about Salazar's past may bring more unwanted negative attention to Obama.
Just hours after Barack Obama's announcement of Ken Salazar as his choice for Interior Secretary, denunciation of and opposition to Salazar have already turned the Colorado Senator in to the most controversial of President-elect Obama's many cabinet designees. This story in NPR ,"Environmentalists Fuming Over Salazar's New Post," describes the growing disillusion in the environmental community about the Interior Secretary designate Salazar, who Kieran Suckling, head of the Tucson-based Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) said, "is very closely tied to ranching and mining and very traditional, old-time, Western, extraction industries. We were promised that an Obama presidency would bring change." A scathing press statement (see below) released by CBD includes a litany of pro-polluter anti-environmental positions taken by Salazar, including his vote not to repeal tax breaks for Exxon-Mobil and his vote for oil drilling of the Florida coast.

Questions about Salazar's past may bring more unwanted negative attention to Obama, who already finds himself fending off questions about Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich. One reliable source in the DC environmental community just told me that the Interior Secretary position "may not be closed" because Salazar "has some issues from his past that may come out."

Roberto Lovato, a frequent Nation contributor, is a New York-based writer with New America Media.