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.
Former Interior Secretary Ken “Boot” Salazar exhibiting common sense in 2018…
Former Obama Interior Chief Says He Disagrees With Climate Lawsuit Theories
BY MICHAEL SANDOVAL JULY 30, 2018
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.
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 EPA IS ABOUT TO CAUSE A REGULATORY TRAIN WRECK
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.