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Interior Secretary Salazar says Obama administration "transformed" US' energy future

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar believes President Obama's environmental critics aren't giving the president enough credit.

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar speaks with reporters at a breakfast hosted by The Christian Science Monitor on Oct. 5.

Michael Bonfigli / The Christian Science Monitor

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Interior Secretary Ken Salazar was a US senator from Colorado before being named to the cabinet. He was the guest speaker at the Oct. 5 Monitor breakfast in Washington.

Whether conflict is inherent between development and environmental protection:

"It is a false choice.... We can move forward with the development of our natural resources and at the same time move forward with investments in conservation that make a lot of sense."

Criticism that the Obama administration has tilted toward business on oil leases and air quality:

"When the environmental community looks at what it is we have done – transformed the energy reality and energy future of the United States – I think they ought to say you have done a pretty good job."

Dangers of hydraulic fracturing, in which a chemical-laced fluid is injected into solid rock to extract natural gas, boosting energy production:

"There ought to be disclosure [of the chemicals used] with some safeguards concerning proprietary information.... Hydraulic fracking can be done in a safe way, in an environmentally responsible way."

Whether he expects future water shortages:

"Because of the changing precipitation patterns that we have seen through climate change, all the models ... are indicating that in ... the next 10 to 30 years we are going to see dramatic declines in the amount of water that is available in the Colorado River and the Rio Grande.... It is going to be a very tough time."

The inaccurate quote engraved on the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington:

"It is an area of concern to me ... there are some issues ... and we will work on them once we get past [the memorial's dedication]."

Interior's success telling about Hispanic Americans' contributions:

"That is one area where I think America's story has not been told."


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