Since taking office in January, Secretary Salazar has prioritized renewable energy, put the brakes on the Bush administration's full-steam-ahead approach to destructive oil shale development and cancelled oil and gas leases on the edge of Utah national parks and historic sites on nearby public land.
Yet Salazar's measured approach has provoked a backlash by the oil and gas industry that had enjoyed a privileged status during the eight years of the Bush administration.
Secretary Salazar's understanding that he is a steward of our public lands and not the servant of the oil industry is a breath of fresh air.
With the Obama administration placing conservation and renewable energy issues high on its agenda, these first steps should be the first of many more towards the reforms needed to make sure the oil and gas industry doesn't wreck more of our fragile western landscapes.
Secretary Salazar should continue the agency's shift from giving the oil industry what it wants to, insisting on balance on lands that belong to everyone.
- Christopher Benjamin, Largo
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