Ken Salazar, US interior secretary, is stepping down


US Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar speaks at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, NC, on Sept. 4, 2012.



US Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced today that he is resigning from his job, the Denver Post reported. He said he would move back to Colorado, his home state, by the end of March.

While the former Colorado senator has frequently spoken of how much he enjoys his work as the county’s top manager of public lands, Salazar said he needs to return home to help his wife take care of their 5-year-old granddaughter who has autism, the Denver Post reported.

“I have had the privilege of reforming the Department of the Interior to help lead the United States in securing a new energy frontier, ushering in a conservation agenda for the 21st century,” Salazar said in a statement today, Bloomberg Businessweek reported.

On Salazar’s watch, the US Dept. of the Interior created 10 national wildlife refuges and seven national parks and gave the go-ahead to 34 alternate-energy projects on public land, Bloomberg Businessweek reported.

When Deepwater Horizon, a BP-operated deep water oil well in the Gulf of Mexico, exploded in April 2010, pouring about 53,000 gallons of crude a day into the ocean for three months, Salazar declared a moratorium on new offshore drilling leases, the Denver Post reported.

According to Bloomberg Businessweek:

Salazar revamped the department’s oversight of drilling, separating safety enforcement and leasing operations that were part of the Minerals Management Service.

“In his work to promote renewable energy projects on our public lands and increase the development of oil and gas production, Ken has ensured that the Department’s decisions are driven by the best science and promote the highest safety standards," President Barack Obama said in a statement today, according to Politico. "Ken has also made historic strides in strengthening our nation to nation relationship with Indian Country, helping to resolve longstanding disputes and make tribal communities safer and stronger.”

Salazar’s departure leaves President Barack Obama’s cabinet without any Latino members, ABC News reported.

He was one of two Latinos who served in the cabinet in President Obama’s first term, according to ABC News. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis resigned last week.