Interior Nominee Would Likely Continue Bad Policies

Sally JewellConsidering the anti-fossil fuel track record of President Obama and his first-term cabinet members Lisa Jackson (EPA), Steven Chu (Energy Dept.) and Ken Salazar (Interior Dept.), there is no reason to expect that Department of Interior nominee Sally Jewell (photo courtesy Fortune Live Media) would impose a different agenda – especially since the president no longer has to worry about re-election.

While there might not be anything to prevent her confirmation by the Senate, U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop of Utah is weary of the resource development haters the administration keeps producing for its energy and environment regulatory regime. Jewell, the CEO of Recreational Equipment, Inc. (REI) who always tilts for nature preservation rather than human utilization, looks like she would carry on the anti-exploratory and –drilling policies of Obama and Salazar.

“I have some reservations about President Obama’s selection of Sally Jewell,” Bishop, a Republican, said in a statement issued …

Is Salazar Lowballing Gulf Drilling Applications?

Ken Salazar photoTwo weeks ago, we asked whether Interior Secretary Ken Salazar considered himself above the law by ignoring court orders to resume the permitting process for deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. Now we learn that Salazar may have misled Congress and the public on the number of drilling permit applications he is ignoring.

Yesterday, Senator David Vitter (R-LA) accused Salazar, along with Michael Bromwich, the director of the new Bureau of Ocean Energy Management Regulation and Enforcement, of using bogus figures. During Congressional testimony on March 2, and on other occasions, Salazar and Bromwich used much lower figures than those cited in a filing last week in the Justice Department’s appeal of the court order to begin issuing permits.

In a letter to Salazar and Bromwich, Vitter wrote:

Over the last several weeks and months, you have indicated publicly, before Congress, and privately to members, including myself, that

BP Co-Owns Gulf Well That Got Deepwater Permit

Deepwater HorizonEarlier today I accused Interior Secretary Ken Salazar of a “cynical” approach to issuing deepwater drilling permits for the Gulf of Mexico. I did not realize how right I was. According to Kristen Hays of Reuters:

BP Plc, whose Macondo well blowout in the Gulf of Mexico caused the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history last year, co-owns the well that was granted the first deepwater drilling permit since the disaster.

BP is Noble Energy Inc’s partner in the well, holding a 46.5 percent interest, BP said.

Noble operates the Santiago well that received a permit from U.S. regulators on Monday to resume drilling in the Mississippi Canyon area of the Gulf, about 70 miles (110 km) south of the Louisiana coast.

I pointed out that the moratorium was a policy response by officials like Salazar who were hostile to deepwater drilling even before the BP disaster. His department’s …

Is Secretary Salazar Above the Law?

Ken SalazarInterior Secretary Ken Salazar appears today before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. He will hopefully answer questions about his refusal to allow deepwater drilling to resume in the Gulf of Mexico, despite a federal judge twice ruling that the moratorium is illegal.

The BP oil spill was a disaster, but not as big of a disaster as the moratorium that followed. The granting of exactly one drilling permit to Noble Energy this week underscores just how cynical and politicized Salazar’s response has been. Last week, Salazar said that he would not bow to “political pressure” to restart drilling, standing reality on its head.

It was “political pressure” that resulted in the moratorium. The administration happily acquiesced to activists who wanted to stop offshore drilling even before BP blowout. The presidential commission, stacked with such activists, attempted to indict the entire oil and gas exploration and production industry when …