In January, The New York Times greeted the Obama administration’s nomination of Colorado Sen. Ken Salazar as secretary of the Interior with an editorial headlined: "Is Ken Salazar Too Nice?"
So far, the answer is no. But some heavy lifts lie ahead that will determine if he’s tough enough to repair much of the damage the Bush administration inflicted on the West.
Since his confirmation Salazar has withdrawn oil and gas leases offered by the previous administration within sight of some of Utah’s great scenic glories, including Arches and Canyonlands national parks and Dinosaur National Monument. He has postponed other lease sales in Wyoming in deference to Gov. Dave Freudenthal’s concerns about their impacts on wildlife. He has blocked what he called the Bush administration’s "headlong rush" to open up parts of Colorado, Utah and Wyoming to oil shale development, replacing it with a plan that would study its demands on already stressed water and power supplies. And he has made renewable energy development on public lands a priority.
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