WASHINGTON — Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, who oversaw a moratorium on offshore drilling after the BP oil spill and promoted alternative energy sources throughout the nation, will step down in March.
A former U.S. senator from Colorado, Salazar ran the Interior Department throughout President Barack Obama’s first term and pushed renewable power such as solar and wind and the settlement of a longstanding dispute with American Indians.
With Environmental Protection Agency chief Lisa Jackson also leaving the administration and Energy Secretary Steven Chu expected to depart, Obama will have a clean slate of top officials overseeing energy and environment issues.
In a statement Wednesday, Obama said Salazar had helped “usher in a new era of conservation for our nation’s land, water and wildlife” and had played a major role in efforts to expand responsible development of the nation’s domestic energy resources.
The New York Times reported that Salazar did not say what he intended to do after leaving Washington, and the White House gave no hint of who might succeed him.