Shocking! Former Obama Interior Secretary Opposes Climate Lawsuits and Exhibits Common Sense on Energy.

Guest bewilderment by David Middleton

Interior Secretary Ken “Boot” Salazar in 2010…

Tough-Talking Admin Officials Keep ‘Boot on Neck’ of BP

By MIKE SORAGHAN of Greenwire
Published: May 3, 2010

BP used to stand for “British Petroleum.” Now the company wants people to think “Beyond Petroleum.” But in the eyes of the Obama administration it’s starting to mean “blame petroleum.”

They cannot cite a specific complaint beyond a desire that the company work faster to find a solution to the river of crude pouring out of its well. But Obama’s Cabinet secretaries have started poking some verbal kidney punches at the oil giant.

That was most apparent on the Sunday talk shows when Interior Secretary Ken Salazar in two separate appearances used the imagery of a Wild West bar fight to describe how the administration was dealing with the company, whose well is shooting 5,000 barrels of oil a day into the Gulf of Mexico.

“Our job is basically to keep the boot on the neck of British Petroleum,” Salazar said, who often sports a Stetson and who four months ago stirred the ire of the oil business by saying unlike under his predecessors in the George W. Bush administration, oil companies would no longer be treated like “kings of the world.” When he was a senator, he had to apologize after calling Christian conservative leader James Dobson “the antichrist of the world.”

And Obama press secretary Robert Gibbs made clear yesterday that the step-on-the-neck image had the White House seal of approval.

“I think that kind of sums up in that Western Colorado way how — what we’re trying to convey,” Gibbs said.


New York Times

Former Interior Secretary Ken “Boot” Salazar exhibiting common sense in 2018…

Former Obama Interior Chief Says He Disagrees With Climate Lawsuit Theories


Former Interior Department Secretary Ken Salazar said he disagreed with the legal arguments and theories presented by climate lawsuit plaintiffs around the country, including the lawsuit in Colorado.

Salazar spoke to members of the oil and gas industry at the Colorado Petroleum Council event last week. U.S. Deputy Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt and American Petroleum Institute President & CEO Jack Gerard joined Colorado’s former attorney general in addressing the recent trend in climate litigation and whether courts were useful venues for debating environmental policies or if the issue should be left to the legislative and executive branches.


The Colorado lawsuit faces a venue challenge, having first been filed in state court. Similar climate lawsuits brought by the cities of Oakland and San Francisco were dismissed in June, with New York City’s lawsuit dismissed earlier this month.


“I would just add, I think litigation impact is everywhere. One of the greatest gifts I had when I left the United States Department of the Interior as secretary, all of a sudden, my name came off of three thousand lawsuits, and now David and Secretary Zinke have three thousand against them,” he said, noting that litigation against administrations transcends partisan affiliations.


In addition to climate litigation, Salazar challenged opposition to quarterly oil and gas lease sales, saying that misinformation will be used “in order to advance a particular agenda.”

Salazar said Thursday that media accounts of proposed oil and gas lease sales on a mix of private land and Bureau of Land Management parcels east of the Great Sand Dunes National Park were incorrect, insofar as many had claimed the possible development would occur within the park itself.

“I oppose drilling within the Great Sand Dunes National Park,” Salazar said. “But if you’re from the valley like I am, you know that to get to the place that is potentially going to be—it’s still being studied for potential drilling—it’s way on the other side of the mountains. It’s on this side of the Sangre de Cristos.”

“It’s near the town of Westcliffe. It might as well be, for us in the San Luis Valley, as far as Moffat,” he said, pointing to another nearby city outside the national park’s boundaries.

“And yet, somehow, if you look at the media reports, it’s about drilling within the Great Sand Dunes National Park. It is not,” Salazar said.

To counter those media narratives, he said, requires energy literacy and getting the facts straight.


Western Wire

While “Boot” exhibited a shocking level of common sense at the Colorado Petroleum Council event, he still thinks Congress should regulate carbon dioxide emissions…

“It’s something that Congress should do in terms of the regulation of interstate commerce. Those who study the court—I think many of my colleagues will say that they think that the court stepped into that in part because Congress was failing to act on a reality that had taken place in terms of internet sales around our country through the new technologies,” Salazar said. “So I think that part of what is happening is you have people availing themselves of potential court remedies in part because Congress has not been able in the last ten years to act on really important issues.”

And we all know what that will lead to…


The US Chamber of Commerce has just issued a concise statement of the consequences of the EPA’s endangerment ruling, and it is a good introduction to the policy implications of the ruling.

I am told by those in the know that, if the EPA’s endangerment finding stands, it can then be used to justify any action to control energy policy and economic activity. While the section of the Clean Air Act that is involved in this has in the past also addressed cost/benefit analysis, it appears that regulating greenhouse gas emissions will not involve cost-benefit analysis. The endangerment finding instead discusses a ‘precautionary’ approach, where the indirect and uncertain effects of the U.S. sources of greenhouse gases on climate are recognized, but are ignored in an effort to help the climate change situation, no matter how small or incremental that help might be.

New regulations on CO2 emissions for new cars and trucks based on the endangerment finding will follow quickly. Numerous lawsuits to apply those auto regulations to other sections in the Clean Air Act will spread like wildfire. Many of these lawsuits are already in the system.

Folks, this is nothing like fixing the stratospheric ozone problem by developing other refrigerants to replace Freon. CO2 is produced by nearly all sources of energy. CO2 is a part of nature; Freon was a manmade chemical. While replacements for Freon were already developed by the time Freon was banned, we have no large-scale replacements for fossil fuels we can switch to in the near future.

This issue is at least as important as our recent global financial crisis – probably more so in the long run. It has been said that regulating carbon dioxide emissions will make the United States the cleanest Third World country on Earth. And whoever controls carbon dioxide emissions will control the world.


Finally, you can expect that the threat of the EPA regulating CO2 will cause many politicians and pundits to advocate congressional cap-and-trade legislation as a more palatable alternative. But the choice will be like deciding whether you want to die quickly or slowly. Either one will be lethal.

Dr. Roy Spencer, 2009

Featured image source.

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D. J. Hawkins
August 2, 2018 6:26 am

OK, the firm he’s with is in general practice, so he doesn’t need to curry favor with the energy industry. To quote The King and I, “Is a puzzlement”.

Curious George
Reply to  D. J. Hawkins
August 2, 2018 7:28 am

This cautious man may be back in politics in 2021.

August 2, 2018 6:54 am

Yes–the Gulf spill was huge, but it was not as devastating as the alarmists hyper-ventilated about.
It disappeared relatively quickly from the Gulf of Mexico.
Some thought that bacteria and bugs “ate” it. Warm water and all.
Currents took it to the “Bermuda Triangle”, where it has never been seen since.

Reply to  Bob Hoye
August 2, 2018 8:04 am

“Bermuda Triangle mystery ‘solved,’ scientists claim”

comment image

Reply to  Marcus
August 2, 2018 9:19 am

Impressive geography fail by FoxNews:

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Are they hiring feminist film criticism majors for the science beat these days, like PBS?

John M. Ware
Reply to  Dave Burton
August 2, 2018 4:20 pm

I love it! My family lived in Norfolk from 1981 to 1993, and I worked mainly in Virginia Beach, which is plainly where the mapped Bermuda Triangle ends. In our 12 years in Hampton Roads, I never heard the Bermuda Triangle mentioned as extending to Virginia Beach. Were “they” trying to keep it from us? Why? (I could go on, but I won’t.) And where did “PUERTO-RICO” acquire the hyphen? Inquiring minds . . .

Reply to  John M. Ware
August 2, 2018 5:57 pm

Hmph. That particular pointy end is supposed to be a bit further north than is shown.

Everyone should know that the so-called “Bermuda Triangle” is the pattern of effluent from The Swamp. How else to explain the insanity, stupidity, and outright ignorance of physical laws that overtakes anyone who strays into it?

Kalifornia Kook
Reply to  Dave Burton
August 4, 2018 6:40 pm

The Fox News story concludes. “This story originally appeared in The Sun.” The British have their own punctuation, spelling, and words. that may account for the hyphen.
I’m not sure where the map above came from. The one at the link is correct. But as an American, I have no idea where Sussex is (and probably no idea how it is supposed to be spelled), so I can believe they just pointed at the middle of the East Coast and called it good enough.
Although, as an American, I would have looked up Sussex before I wrote a news article.

Farmer Ch E retired
Reply to  Bob Hoye
August 2, 2018 2:04 pm

Did a tour of duty auditing the Deepwater Horizon (MP252) spill cleanup and was stationed in Lafourche Parish, LA (west of Grand Isle), Ft. Walton Beach, FL, and all points in between. I recall that oil escaping from the well was atomized to a size such that a large portion was neutrally buoyant so it remained at depth where the bacteria ate it. From what I understand, they didn’t find the oil when they looked for it. They did find the water conditions indicative of the aftermath of biological degradation. The oil never reached the surface. The bugs (aka bacteria) are well adapted to the oil from natural leaks within the Gulf over the ages.

In terms of environmental damage, up to 102,000 birds were killed as a result of the Gulf spill (US Fish and Wildlife report dated June 1, 2016).

Not to minimize this damage in any respect, the reported bird deaths from wind energy is reported on to be: “. . . somewhere between 140,000 and 328,000 birds die each year from collisions with wind turbines.” That’s equivalent to up to 3 Gulf Spills per year. Others report the number as high as 600,000 bird kills per year and even more bats. California’s Ivanpah Solar Power Facility has a reported annual bird kill up to 28,000 (the LA Times reports a much lower number). Proponents of wind and solar downplay the deaths of birds and bats by comparing with auto strikes, building strikes, cat kills, etc. Why not compare wind and solar bird kills with the Gulf spill?

August 2, 2018 7:11 am

Not shocking at all, Kennie has always went for the money. Used to be suing energy producers was the phat payday, now Kennie is moving to other “income streams”. He is and has always been a bottom feeder. Check his knees, got scars from his ambulance chasing days. You can repaint a zebra, all you do is cover up the stripes, they don’t go away.

Curious George
August 2, 2018 7:25 am

“Salazar spoke to members of the oil and gas industry.” Like any politician, he told them what they wanted to hear. No surprise.

August 2, 2018 7:47 am

Even better !!

“Trump unravels more of Obama’s legacy, with proposed freeze on mileage rules”

steve case
August 2, 2018 7:56 am

Folks…This issue is at least as important as our recent global financial crisis – probably more so in the long run. …the choice will be like deciding whether you want to die quickly or slowly. Either one will be lethal. Dr. Roy Spencert

Regarding those “What’s important to you?” surveys that list Climate Change as dead last or missing. It should be near the top for the above reason as stated by Dr. Spencer above. A stake needs to be driven through the black heart of the Climate Change Monster.

Reply to  steve case
August 2, 2018 8:08 am

“Dr. Roy Spencert” …. Gee, they can’t even get his name right ?? D’OH !

steve case
Reply to  Marcus
August 2, 2018 10:33 am

Must be my typo

Joel O’Bryan
August 2, 2018 8:04 am

A jumbled, confused post where sorting out what is a past statement from current positions is not clear at first reading.

D. J. Hawkins
Reply to  Joel O’Bryan
August 2, 2018 8:22 am

Let’s see, at the top of the first statement box:
“Interior Secretary Ken “Boot” Salazar in 2010…”

At the top of the second statement box:
“Former Interior Secretary Ken “Boot” Salazar exhibiting common sense in 2018…”

I’m confused about your confusion.

August 2, 2018 8:31 am

A note on the “Venue Challenge” – although it may seem like a bit of legal “inside baseball”, this is quite significant. To put it bluntly, these cases will never be heard in any state court, no matter the state. They will all end up in Federal Court, decided by Federal Law. And it has nothing to do with the subject matter of the suit.

There’s a thing known as “Diversity Jurisdiction” – if all of the defendants in a lawsuit reside (or in the case of corporations, are incorporated in) a different state than the plaintiff (in this case, the State of Colorado), then as a matter of Federal Law, the defendants have the right to demand that the case be heard in Federal Court, not in State Court. Since this is well established law, there is no chance of this being overridden. It doesn’t matter where the harm was done, that would matter in a criminal trial, but not in a civil suit.

And when they are transferred to Federal Court, they are going to be decided along the same lines that Alsup decided the Oakland case.

Peta of Newark
August 2, 2018 8:45 am

A total little slime ball weasel and a perfect example/reason why folks within ‘Public Service’ should not receive financial remuneration for their ‘work’
See Mr Trump trying to set an example.

Otherwise a perfectly solid reason why you will not meet any citizens of Ancient Rome in these modern times – they created so many Patricians and cronies that the entire edifice collapsed under its own weight.

It suddenly dawns!!!
That’s why we supposedly need so many batteries these days (Hello Elon, how’s that factory going?) – its to power all the torches we’ll need in the forthcoming Dark Age.

August 2, 2018 9:10 am

The endangerment finding by EPA is more flimsy and narrow that people think. Robert Henneke is general counsel and director of the Center for the American Future at the Texas Public Policy Foundation and explains the limitations of the finding.
“To proceed under Section 111, the EPA is required to make an endangerment finding under the criteria for stationary sources. But there is no endangerment finding – not under the Obama administration and not now. To justify its overreach, the EPA has pointed to the endangerment finding it made in 2009 in connection with mobile source emissions (cars and trucks, etc.) under a different provision of the Clean Air Act (Section 202). But that endangerment finding simply doesn’t apply.”

Alan Tomalty
August 2, 2018 10:51 am

All rise. The court is in session.

The prosecutor’s office will now state the case for the plaintiff.

We the citizens of the world charge that man sitting over there, Mr. CO2 to be guilty of crimes upon humanity. Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh and other cries throughout the courtroom.

What have I done? cries out Mr. CO2

You have caused catastrophic warming, and all hell has broken loose across the planet with the ice caps melting and with storms and other extreme weather events now battering humanity mercilessly. How do you plead?

NOT GUILTY Your Honour.

Will the lead prosecutor lay before the court evidence of the charges?

We shall. Your Honour.

At your honour’s convenience we should like to present the 32,458 papers that have been published on all aspects of global warming and since we have a 97% consensus that means that 31,484 papers have confirmed that global warming exists and that that man over there Mr. CO2 caused it.

Gasppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppp.A large gasp from the courtroom.

You don’t expect me to read all of these papers do you?

No Your Honour but if it pleases the court, we can bring in a computer hookup to the court and run one of our climate computer simulation models (GCM’s) that PROVE what the studies are saying.

And how would a computer model do that?

Well Your Honour, almost all of the above 31,484 papers used computer models to justify their conclusions that Mr. CO2 will cause catastrophic climate change if he isn’t stopped..

I see what you mean.

If it also pleases the court we would also like to call witnesses for the prosecution.


I call Dr. James Hansen, an eminent climate scientist and possibly one could call him the most famous climate scientist of all time, and a 5 times arrested political prisoner to the stand.

Mr Hansen Do you swear ………………blah blah blah……………………..

I do.

Mr Hansen . How many scientific papers have you published sir?

Approximately 190.

Were they all peer reviewed?

Of course.

Would you retract anything you have ever said or published?

I stand by every word.

In your opinion, what is the fate of humanity in light of Mr. CO2’s actions?

I am afraid it is too late. The following are my most famous quotes on this. Many of them; I said more than 10 years ago.

“The climate dice are now loaded. Some seasons still will be cooler than the long-term average, but the perceptive person should notice that the frequency of unusually warm extremes is increasing. It is the extremes that have the most impact on people and other life on the planet.”

“Imagine a giant asteroid on a direct collision course with Earth. That is the equivalent of what we face now with climate change, yet we dither.”

“If humanity wishes to preserve a planet similar to that on which civilisation developed and to which life on Earth is adapted, paleoclimate evidence and ongoing climate change suggest that CO₂ will need to be reduced from its current 385 ppm [parts per million] to at most 350 ppm… If the present overshoot of this target CO₂ is not brief, there is a possibility of seeding irreversible catastrophic effects.”

“We have at most ten years—not ten years to decide upon action, but ten years to alter fundamentally the trajectory of global greenhouse emissions.”

“We are on the precipice of climate system tipping points beyond which there is no redemption.”

“It would be immoral to leave young people with a climate system spiraling out of control.”

“Global warming has already triggered a sea level rise that could reach from 6 metres (19.69 ft) to 25 metres (27.34 yards).”

“What we are doing to the future of our children, and the other species on the planet, is a clear moral issue.”

“How long have we got? We have to stabilize emissions of carbon dioxide within a decade, or temperatures will warm by more than one degree… We don’t have much time left.”

“Planet Earth, creation, the world in which civilization developed, the world with climate patterns that we know and stable shorelines, is in imminent peril.”

“Global warming isn’t a prediction. It is happening.”

“Only in the last few years did the science crystallize, revealing the urgency – our planet really is in peril. If we do not change course soon, we will hand our children a situation that is out of their control.”

“The trains carrying coal to power plants are death trains. Coal-fired power plants are factories of death.”

“If we fail to act, we will end up with a different planet.”

“The climate system is being pushed hard enough that change will become obvious to the man in the street in the next decade.”

“We have at most ten years – not ten years to decide upon action, but ten years to alter fundamentally the trajectory of global greenhouse emissions… We are near a tipping point, a point of no return, beyond which the built in momentum and feedbacks will carry us to levels of climate change with staggering consequences for humanity and all of the residents of this planet.”

“As you get more global warming, you should see an increase in the extremes of the hydrological cycle – droughts and floods and heavy precipitation.”

“Adding CO2 to the air is like throwing another blanket on the bed.”

“The five warmest years over the last century occurred in the last eight years.”

“What has become clear from the science is that we cannot burn all of the fossil fuels without creating a very different planet.”

“We have to, in the next ten years, begin to decrease the rate of carbon dioxide emissions and then flatten it out. If that doesn’t happen in ten years, we’re going to be passing certain tipping points. If the ice sheets begin to disintegrate, what can you do about it? You can’t tie a rope around an ice sheet.”

Does the defendant’s lawyer wish to cross examine Mr. Hansen?

We do Your Honour .

Mr Hansen, How many predictions have you made about the planet that had specific consequences with deadline dates attached to them?

I don’t remember.

Well then let us refresh your memory.

There seems too many to count but may we round it off to around 20 failed predictions with 0 correct ones?

BUT that’s not the point. Our civilization is at stake.

YES Mr. Hansen, our civilization is indeed at stake but not for the reasons you think. No further questions Your Honour

The witness may stand down.

Does the prosecution have any more witnesses to call?

No Your Honour. The evidence is all in the papers and computer models.

Does the defendant have any witnesses on his behalf?

Well Your Honour, we wanted to call Dr. Michael Mann as a hostile witness but he said that he doesn’t play hockey and he refused.

I don’t understand the last comment.

Your Honour, It was a reference to the infamous hockey stick graph that he created. It is in some of those 31,484 papers before you.

I hope the defendant doesnt expect me to read all those papers.

No Your Honour. They were all pal reviewed anyway and almost all of them relied on computer climate models.

Your Honour The defendant would like to call the 125 or so computer climate models to the stand all as hostile witnesses.

But they aren’t human. They are just computer code.

Well Your Honour We could recall Dr. Hansen and he could substitute for the computer models.

The court agrees.

Dr. Hansen is hereby recalled to the stand.

Mr Hansen Do you swear ………………blah blah blah……………………..

I do.

Mr. Hansen Isn’t it true that the computer models have not had 1 publicly available accurate temperature prediction about the future including your Scenario C in 1988?


Yes Mr. Hansen

Your Honour the computer climate models are still only a work in progress and the ICPP has been quoted in its 3rd assessment report as saying “The climate system is a coupled non-linear chaotic system, and therefore the long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible.” OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOPs Did I say that?

I would like to retract that statement.

Too late Dr. Hansen . May the court stenographer verify that what Dr. Hansen has said be entered into the court record.

Does the prosecution wish to cross examine Dr. Hansen?

No we do not Your Honour.

Your Honour, the defense would like to call one more witness to the stand?

Mr CO2. Do you swear ………………blah blah blah……………………..

I do.

Mr CO2 In your defense would you outline for the court why you are NOT GUILTY.

Well I’m a humble molecule. To quote WIKI

“I am linear and centrosymmetric. The carbon–oxygen bond length is 116.3 pm, noticeably shorter than the bond length of a C–O single bond and even shorter than most other C–O multiply-bonded functional groups. Since I am centrosymmetric, I have no electrical dipole. Consequently, only two vibrational bands are observed in the IR spectrum – an antisymmetric stretching mode at 2349 cm−1 and a degenerate pair of bending modes at 667 cm−1. There is also a symmetric stretching mode at 1388 cm−1 which is only observed in the Raman spectrum.”

So it is true that I do absorb LWIR, but I am outnumbered in the atmosphere. I am only 410 ppm. Every pico second those damn N2 and O2 molecules are always colliding with me and causing me to lose my photons. And convection is always carrying me to the top of the atmosphere where any energy I have is released into the colder temperatures. 30% of me gets recycled to the oceans and the land surface every year anyway so I don’t stay long. Besides even though mankind adds me to the equivalent of 3.3ppm only 1.5 ppm of me is net addition every year to the atmosphere.

Millions of years ago I was as much as 8000 ppm and nobody died because of me. Besides I am in every pop drink(kids love me) and hundreds of other industrial processes. Plants need me to survive and you Your Honour are breathing me out right now.

I am???????????

Yes your Honour this stuffy court room is probably 2000 ppm right now.

And the oceans need me and the rocks too . I have lots of friends.

BUT the mean EPA in the US got the law to call me a pollutant. I haven’t polluted anything. The ice caps are only repeating their cycles of melting and cooling every 60 to 100 years and there havent been any more extreme weather events now than there ever was. The oceans have a ph of over 8 which is nowhere near to being acidic because it is a log scale. the coral reefs arent dying off and there are more polar bears than there ever were. I could go on and on about every scare story ever invented by the alarmists has been refuted but I dont want to bore you with the details.
The temperature you see outside can vary 20 C in one day, easy. And even the IPCC says that I only caused the temperature to go up 0.8 C in a century. It wasn’t me Your Honour. I didn’t do it. There has never been a century in the earth’s history where the climate hasn’t changed that much. It changes all the time. If you dismiss the case against me Your Honour, I will secretly tell you what causes climate change.

I don’t do deals in my courtroom Mr CO2.

Sorry Your Honour


Well the last thing I will say your Honour is that I think this is one big conspiracy against me by the climate scientists. Think of it this way Your Honour. If we didnt have to worry about the future climate and if there was nothing we could do to change it , why would we need climate scientists? It is in their best interests to put fear into every child’s heart by teaching them in school that they will drown in rising seas or burn up in the rising heat. This fear you see is what keeps the funding going. Why, your Honour, the climate change scandal is now a trillion and a half $ industry in the world?

It issssssssssssss?

Yes Your Honour. There is lots of money at stake here. One final thought your Honour. They want to jail my friend Mr. Methane too, because all the worlds cows by farting contribute to green house gas release and they say Mr. Methane is 20 times more dangerous than me.

Don’t believe it Your Honour. We are innocent.

Does the prosecution want to cross examine Mr. CO2?

No. Your Honour we can’t find any fault with Mr CO2’s testimony but that doesnt mean our models are wrong.

Any more witnesses?

No Your Honour
I will hear your closing statements next time.
The court is adjourned.

Richard Chenoweth
Reply to  Alan Tomalty
August 2, 2018 2:08 pm

well said. if only it could be achived

August 2, 2018 5:06 pm

The Salazar boys were never the sharpest knives in the draw. Life long politicians, both of them.

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