In a print ad set to run in the Denver Post Thursday, a coalition of hunters and anglers called “Sportsmen for Responsible Energy Development (SRED)” essentially challenges Interior Secretary and former Colorado Sen. Ken Salazar to be more like Teddy Roosevelt – a president who spoke softly but carried a big conservation stick.
SRED, like a group of retired federal and state regulators of public lands two weeks ago, wants to make sure the onshore oil and gas drilling reforms proposed by Salazar in January and finally outlined in detail last week, are meaningful in order to “ensure that what happened in the Gulf of Mexico doesn’t occur onshore and jeopardize important wildlife habitats.”
The half-page ad (pictured) juxtaposes photos of Roosevelt and Salazar and reads, “Two of a Kind.” It also features a quote from Roosevelt 100 years ago in Denver when he told the Colorado Cattlemen’s Association: “The nation behaves well if it treats the natural resources as assets which it must turn over to the next generation, increased and not impaired in value.”
It goes on to urge Salazar to continue the Rough Rider’s environmental agenda: “No one has a better opportunity to continue Theodore Roosevelt’s legacy than Interior Secretary Ken Salazar,” the ad reads. “Secretary Salazar, thanks for protecting our outdoor heritage for our children and grandchildren.”
Salazar is under intense pressure to shake up the federal Minerals Management Service, charged with regulating and simultaneously extracting royalties from powerful energy conglomerates. He announced there was “a new sheriff in town” in January of 2009 in Lakewood, when he vowed to clean house after an MMS drug, sex and influence-peddling scandal at the Colorado office.
However, a new report from the Interior Department’s inspector general reveals the same sort of shenanigans at the MMS Lake Charles, La., office that has oversight of offshore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. Employees reportedly accepted hunting trip, tickets to football games and other perks while signing off on oil and gas production facilities.
Salazar is once again talking tough, promising to take “any and all appropriate personnel actions, including termination, discipline and referrals of any wrongdoing for criminal prosecution.”