Yesterday, federal Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced he would be stepping down from his role in March.
U.S. Senators Lisa Murkowski and Mark Begich responded…
Murkowski(R-AK): “I want to thank the secretary for his service to the nation both as a senator and in his time at the Department of the Interior. Being the nation’s top steward, responsible for one-fifth of all the land in the United States, is no easy task and Secretary Salazar performed it with the upmost dedication to his principles.
The Interior Department has a huge influence on Alaska’s economy as the landlord of more than 220 million acres within our borders. Alaska’s future depends on our ability to access and develop our natural resources under federal control. I encourage President Obama to choose a replacement who will work in partnership with Alaska and other western states to ensure their future economic success.”
Begich(D-AK): “I just spoke with Secretary Ken Salazar and thanked him for his service and wished his family well. I have had the privilege of working with Secretary Salazar on a host of issues important to Alaska, including our critical efforts to open the Arctic Ocean to the first oil and gas drilling it has seen in 20 years. He has been a solid partner to our state when it comes to resource development. The progress we made on streamlining OCS permitting and exploration would not have happened without his leadership.
While we have not seen eye to eye on every issue, he has taken the time to travel to Alaska many times, to listen to Alaskans and make decisions based on that homework. Few positions in the federal government have as much power over Alaska as secretary of the Interior, from being landlord to over 60% of our state to carrying the responsibility of maintaining the government-to-government relationship with the Alaska Native population.”
The President will now choose a new Secretary of the Interior to serve during his second term in office.