Monday, January 19, 2009

Salazar offers pragmatic course on minerals, energy

Ken Salazar, nominee for Interior Secretary will be taking a pragmatic course, based on his testimony in his confirmation hearing last Thursday before the Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee. His approach seems very much in line with the overall direction of the Obama administration.

He gives priority to ‘sensible’ reform of the 1872 Mining Law. Sen. Salazar said he understands the importance of mining, but called for stronger [environmental] standards than what exists in the law. Even the mining industry recognizes the need to make changes, but the debate is over the extent and nature of revisions.

He expressed support for:
  • Clean coal technologies and carbon capture and sequestration
  • Nuclear power generation
  • Modernizing the interstate electrical grid
  • Expanding renewable energy on public lands
  • Helping tribes develop renewable energy on their lands
  • ‘Wise use’ of conventional natural resources including oil, natural gas, and coal
Salazar also spoke about abandoned mines as a “scar on the public domain that has had huge environmental consequences."


  1. Anyway you slice this one we are going to be in deep trouble if we don't get on with becoming energy independent. Oil is finite. We are using oil globally at the rate of 2 X faster than new oil is being discovered. The high price of fuel the previous year has brought America to it's knees and done serious damage to our economy and society. Our nation better wake up and smell the coffee and realize oil is finite, it is running out faster than anyone realizes and it is time to get on with utilizing alternative sources of energy. Use some of those bail out baillions to bail America out of it's dependence on foreign oil. Create clean energy and new jobs. Hopefully our new administration will move forward with this very important issue. I just read a really good book called The Manhattan Project of 2009 by Jeff Wilson.I highly recommend this book for anyone concerned about out economy and America's need to become more energy independent.

  2. A pragmatic course would imply that it considers the practical consequences and real effects to be vital components of meaning and truth – part of the definition of pragmatism. Those consequences and effects will be felt by everyone living in the modern world, from energy to minerals, prices have the potential to skyrocket as it becomes more and more prohibitive to develop our natural resources. Reform of the mining law in any manner that is deterring or even prohibitive to the mining industry, will entice companies to operate in foreign countries. The consequences of this are not limited to but include: operations in countries with lower environmental standards, loss of jobs that are primary income generating, a shift of investments from the US to foreign countries, and greater dependence on foreign resources, resulting in a reduction of national security. Americans need to overcome their “Not In My Backyard” syndrome and realize that natural resource development has technologically progressed as rapidly as any other field, is safe, and reclamation standards are higher than what some legacies portray. So I don’t see it as a “scar on the public domain”, stop and think about where we would be without the mines we have, both past and present. Would we have enjoyed victory in WWII if the copper for ammunition had to come from overseas? What kind of car would you drive or bike would you ride without minerals? Windmills and photovoltaic cells require relatively large amounts of resources. So yeah, we need to always be looking towards progress, and bridging the gap from where we are to where we need to be, and it isn’t done by a “feel good” leap of faith into “green” technologies that are not ready to handle the burden of the great American consumer.