ESA in the News: Secretary Salazar (officially)
According to his home state newspaper, the Denver Post, Endangered Species Act watchers expect controversies with the newly announced nominee for Secretary of Interior, Senator Ken Salazar (D-Colo): "One area where Salazar is drawing fire is his positions on the Endangered Species Act. In 1999, as state attorney general, Salazar opposed the listing of the black-tailed prairie dog under the act, saying there was insufficient data. The Fish and Wildlife Service is evaluating whether the species should be protected. Critics such as WildEarthGuardians and the Center for Biological Diversity contend that Salazar tilts in favor of agribusiness over threatened species. Salazar also is chided by these groups for endorsing the Bush administration's appointment of Gale Norton, a Coloradan, as interior secretary. Still, a large number of environmental groups have praised his selection."
As Senator, Mr. Salazar proposed tax incentives for farmers and ranchers to assist endangered and threatened species, as his own press release explained: Creating new tax incentives related to the recovery and restoration of endangered species: Senators Salazar and Allard are co-sponsors of legislation (S.700) that would provide financial incentives for private land owners including farmer and ranchers, to facilitate the recovery of threatened and endangered species, while preserving the opportunities for productive use of land. The Endangered Species Recovery Act would provide $400 million annually in new tax credits and offer deductions and exclusions to farmers and ranchers who take steps to facilitate the recovery of engendered or threatened species on the properties they own. Species that could be protected in Colorado include: Piping Plover, Least Tern, and Southwestern Willow Flycatcher, among others.
Offering insightful commentary on the appointment, Plenty.com concluded that Senator Salazar will make a "decent DOI chief."