Time was even Ken Salazar's detractors wouldn't deny that the Cowboy-hatted Colorado pol was shrewd and competent. But those days are long gone, and a new picture of Salazar has emerged — as a Stetson-sporting charlatan who has been chewed up and spit out of the job of Secretary of Interior.
Salazar's incompetent fumbling of the Deepwater Horizons disaster embarrassed the Obama Administration, and led to the ouster of Salazar's Chief of Staff, infamous Colorado “lawyer-lobbyist” Tom Strickland.
Now it seems he’s stepped in it again.
Salazar's recently unveiled “Wild Lands” decree has shown him to be nothing more than a stooge for Obama, willing to do an end-run around Congress and stop use of land through regulatory fiat. This new BLM policy will allow federal land to be managed as “wilderness” without Congressional approval, a break from the current process.
Continuing his penchant for transparent mismanagement, Salazar decided to announce his dictate two days before Christmas with no advance notice. Thankful for such a gratuitous display of disrespect to Congressional authority, the House of Representatives last Friday voted to cut off funding for this policy, yet the Obama administration presses on, democracy be damned.
And late last week Salazar again brought his generous shortcomings to the oil shale debate, caving to legal assault by radical environmentalists and proposing a new set of rules and regulations and soon-to-be jacked up royalty rates.
Right now a number of companies are investing huge sums on R&D working under tightly restrictive and highly limited federal permits to prove to Uncle Sam that oil shale can be economically and environmentally produced. With over half of the world’s oil shale reserves in the US, we might want to get this right.
But now Salazar is changing the rules, making it harder for these bona fide test-runs to proceed. Raising the regulatory bar on companies knee deep in investment has always been a sound economic governance tool.
What's most unnerving about Salazar's whole faux-folksy approach to it all is that Salazar clings to the disingenuous trope that he's for a sensible R&D process. Well Kenny, if that's the case, then why are you making the whole process such a quagmire of regulatory confusion?
Salazar is sure doing a ‘heckuva job’ helping companies figure out how to reach what officials estimate could be up to 3 trillion barrels of oil in the West.
With oil prices in the last couple of days rising faster than Type 2 diabetes rates in fat kids, it’s always a good idea to reduce the ability for the country to produce its own energy. We’d much prefer to hope the Suez Canal is surrounded by capitalist democracies in the near future.
Like Brownie at FEMA and McDaniels at Invesco, Salazar is proving he is just not up to the job. The only thing in shorter supply than competency over at Salazar's Interior Department is credibility. When it comes to oil shale, as with plugging a hole, Salazar has got zero.