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Ken Salazar Needs Another Ass-Kicking
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All hat, no cattle

Ken Salazar needs another ass-kicking

by Michelle Malkin

Creators Syndicate

Copyright 2010

When President Obama picked former Democrat Sen. Ken Salazar as his

Interior Secretary last year, the Coloradan donned a 10-gallon hat and

dubbed himself the “new sheriff in town.” But Cowboy Ken is the one

who needs to be run out on a rail. In his continued quest to shut down

offshore drilling, Salazar has run roughshod over scientific

integrity, transparency, and the Gulf Coast economy.

Two federal courts have batted down the White House-approved,

Salazar-directed drilling moratorium. Outraged scientists — appointed

by the Obama administration, mind you — blasted Salazar for

doctoring their work and contradicting their conclusions to bolster

his manufactured case for the sweeping six-month ban. Undaunted,

Salazar conjured up a “revised” moratorium rubber-stamped by oil spill

czar Michael Bromwich, who sheepishly admitted that the new ban was

“roughly congruent with the original moratorium.”

The sham changes would permit some drilling rigs to re-start

operations – but only under onerous, fantasyland testing conditions

that industry leaders say would be virtually impossible to meet. In

short, Salazar’s “new” moratorium is a lot like Salazar himself: All

hat, no cattle.

The Interior Secretary then strode into the first hearing of the

presidential oil spill commission this week to tell the panelists that

he wanted their work to “inform” his book-cooked deepwater drilling

ban. It was, essentially, Salazar guiding the dog-and-pony show

participants to bark and neigh on command. The panelists were

“stunned” by Salazar’s explicit expectation of policy support,

according to hearing observers, because weighing in on the moratorium

had not been a part of their original mandate.

None of the panelists, conveniently enough, has actual technical

expertise in deepwater drilling. So on what, exactly, can they

“inform” Salazar? No doubt Salazar and his superiors at 1600

Pennsylvania Avenue have soaked up the online anti-drilling rants of

prominent oil spill panelist Frances Beinecke. She’s a leading

official at the rabidly anti-corporate Natural Resources Defense

Council, where she publicly called for offshore drilling bans five

times over the past two months before snagging a seat on Obama’s

“expert” panel. NRDC was one of the leading environmental lobbying

voices pushing for the commission in the first placde. The eco-tail is

wagging Team Obama’s dog.

The good news is that not all the panelists are rolling over.

Co-chairs William Reilly and Bob Graham absorbed an earful from local

residents, small business owners, and public officials from the Gulf

region this week. Louisiana Democrat Sen. Mary Landrieu decried the

economic devastation Salazar is overseeing: “Even the revised

moratorium will force thousands of hardworking Louisianans and others

along the Gulf Coast into the unemployment lines.” Lafourche Parish

(La.) President Charlotte Randolph blasted the zero-risk tolerance

mentality of Salazar and Beinecke, illustrating the folly behind the

offshore drilling moratorium: If “safety” demands a blanket halt to

deepwater drilling, she said, then all oil tanker traffic in the Gulf

of Mexico should be halted, too. “An oil tanker is a four times

greater risk of spilling its cargo than an oil well blowing out,”

Randolph pointed out. “Tankers carrying 3 million barrels of oil

traverse the Gulf daily en route to Houston.” That’s roughly the

amount of oil BP spilled over the last three months.

After the first hearing this week, Reilly openly challenged the White

House foot-dragging on 33 oil rig safety assessments, wondering “why

it’s going to take so long to convince people the existing rigs are

safe.” For his part, Graham blasted the “disconnect between Washington

and the Gulf region about the sense of urgency needed.”

In Washington, at least one watchdog has pegged Salazar as a crooked

shooter. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Ranking

Member Darrell Issa exposed the Interior Secretary’s serial

obstructionism in a letter released Thursday on Salazar’s failure to

comply with 45 document requests related to the feds’ post-spill

response. “The lack of cooperation is appalling for an Administration

that prides itself on transparency and openness with the American

people,” Issa noted. “Indeed, it appears that the Administration is

more concerned with hiding from the tough questions than answering


While Salazar ducks and dithers, deepwater oil drillers are canceling

contracts or moving their rigs overseas – and American jobs along with

them. Diamond Offshore moved one of its rigs to Egypt. Murphy Oil

Company is also moving operations to the Congo. And Bloomberg News

reported that “the number of offshore rigs operating in U.S. waters

has plunged 71 percent to 16 from 56 before the blowout, according to

surveys by Baker Hughes Inc.”

The new sheriff’s in town alright — and he’s shooting the Gulf Coast

economy in the foot, head, and heart. Heckuva job, Kenny.

(Republished from by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Enviro-nitwits, Politics