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ARC welcomes Ken Salazar, new Interior Secretary

From The American Recreation Coalition

January 5, 2009

President-elect Barack Obama has nominated Ken Salazar, who has served Colorado in the United States Senate since 2005, to be his Secretary of the Interior. Mr. Salazar served as Secretary of Colorado's Department of Natural Resources under Governor Roy Romer where he played a key role in that state's campaign to create the Great Outdoors Colorado Fund, using lottery receipts, and participated in a number of scenic byways and byways kiosk dedications. He has been a centrist in the Senate, opposing some of the oil and gas leasing initiatives on public lands that had adverse recreation and wildlife impacts but working with Senators of both parties to open up new offshore oil and gas leasing opportunities. He has a long and strong relationship with current Assistant Secretary of the Interior Lyle Laverty. Sen. Salazar's nomination came despite active efforts of the "green community" to support the nomination of U.S. Representative Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ).

Sen. Salazar's name was mentioned early in the appointments process but had not been highlighted recently because, among other reasons, of the anticipated interest in a strategy to retain Democratic Senate seats in 2010, when he would have been up for reelection. He is the fourth Democratic Senator in the current Congress who will be part of the new Administration. Others recently noted as candidates for the top Interior job, including John Berry (who now heads the National Zoo, part of the Smithsonian) and Jim Lyons (former Under Secretary of Natural Resources and the Environment in the Department of Agriculture under President Clinton), may now emerge as top candidates for the Deputy Secretary spot.

The American Recreation Coalition (ARC) has submitted a letter to Senator Salazar offering our congratulations and assistance on matters concerning the future of outdoor recreation. We look forward to working with the future Secretary to encourage more Americans to live healthier, outdoor lifestyles. Additionally, ARC is preparing to submit questions for various confirmation hearings for new top-level land management leadership positions. If you would like to submit a question, please contact Mindy Meade at

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