Ken Salazar's legacy includes push for wind, solar energy

When Ken Salazar came into office as Interior secretary, no large-scale solar projects had been approved and the offshore Cape Wind project near the Massachusetts coast had been stalled for years.

Since then, Salazar has overseen the first major push to permit renewable energy development on public lands, with Interior giving green lights to dozens of solar, wind, geothermal and transmission projects.

Interior's moves were part of a broad green energy initiative that became one of the most-debated features of Obama's first term. Some industry groups have been pressing the administration to switch its emphasis to fossil fuels in the second term so as to capitalize on the boom in domestic oil and natural gas production brought about by technologies such as fracking.

In late October, the administration used the approval of a Wyoming site for a 3,000-megawatt wind farm to celebrate the fact that a combined total of 10 gigawatts of renewable energy had won approval on public lands. That particular project still must go through site-specific environmental reviews.

“When President Obama took office, he made expanding production of American-made energy a priority, including making our nation a world leader in harnessing renewable energy,” Salazar said at the time.

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