A New Secretary at Interior?

December 14, 2012 | By DAMIEN SCHIFF

Such are the hopes of at least part of the environmental community.  This week, 200 environmental organizations sent a letter to President Obama urging him to select Raul Grijalva, a U.S. Representative from Arizona, as Salazar’s successor.  There is some cheek in this, given that Salazar hasn’t said that he wants to leave.  But it’s no secret that many in the environmental community connsider Salazar to be a compromiser or otherwise too friendly to those who advocate for productive use of public lands.

What I find interesting about this week’s letter (which was prominently trumpeted by the Center for Biological Diversity) is the absence of several very big-name environmental organizations, such as Defenders of Wildlife, EarthJustice, Natural Resources Defense Council, and Sierra Club.  These absences perhaps are not that surprising.  I think it fair to say that CBD has long been considered the left of the left of the environmental movement, often perceived by more “mainstream” environmental groups as a bit kooky (a reasonable conclusion in light of CBD’s strong program for endangered species-themed prophylactics).  For its part, CBD often views these same groups as Washington sell-outs that have lost the purity of the environmental movement.  Whoever serves as head of Interior for President Obama’s second term, internecine squabbles among these groups may not be such a bad thing, as they’ll have less time to frustrate the productive use of private and public property.