Secretary Salazar Announces Plans to Step Down; Gregoire Eyed As Possible Replacement

By Amelia Templeton (EarthFix)

Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar announced today he will step down from his post in March.  Who will take his place?

As Interior Secretary, Salazar cut the ribbon on the removal of the Elwha dams in Olympic National Park. The largest dam removal in U.S. history.  But some of Salazar’s other moves in the Northwest sparked more controversy.

Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar visits an experimental restoration logging site near Grants Pass.In 2009 he upheld a decision to remove the grey wolf from the endangered species list in Idaho and parts of Oregon and Washington.  In western Oregon, he invited scientists to experiment with ecological clear-cuts that mimic the effect of fire on the landscape.  Those proved controversial too.  And Salazar leaves unfinished business in Oregon’s Klamath basin.

He helped put together a deal that would remove four dams on the Klamath River and resolve fighting over water rights.  But congress still hasn’t approved the agreement, so Salazar will leave office without signing it.

President Obama hasn’t announced who he will nominate to replace Salazar, but the post often goes to a westerner. Pundits have called former Washington Governor Chris Gregoire a top candidate for the job.

Photo: Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar visits an experimental restoration logging site near Grants Pass.

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