Tuesday, November 3, 2009

U.S. Interior Department’s Clean Energy Forum

Watch a few minutes of C-SPAN’s coverage of the Interior Department’s Clean Energy Forum held November 2, and you’ll see something both ordinary and extraordinary:

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, his Deputy, Assistant Secretaries, Directors and Commissioners presenting an intelligent and persuasive case for the Obama Administration’s Clean Energy Strategy.

Contrast this group of professionals with the cast of characters at the highest levels of the Interior Department during the Bush era.

Remember Gale Norton, who ran the Department for six years, using her office to turn federal land and resources over to her friends in the mining, timber, oil, gas and coal industries. Norton is now under investigation for conflict of interest related to oil shale leases in Colorado. She was followed as secretary by former Idaho Republican Governor Dick Kempthorne, known for his animosity toward open space in the West.

Disillusioned Democrats, frustrated by stalled legislation in Congress and a cautious White House, should keep in mind that this administration is slowly and steadily shifting the internal practices and policies of federal departments, agencies and commissions.

This takes time. While it’s not exactly a “purge,” populating the federal bureaucracy with appointees who believe in the mission of government is an enormous asset for environmentalists, unions, consumer advocates and progressive organizations from A to Z.

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