Dear President Obama,
We are calling for the immediate removal of Ken Salazar as Secretary of the Interior.
On November 6th, 2012, during an election party, Secretary Salazar threatened to "punch out" Dave Philipps, a reporter for the Colorado Springs Gazette. Philipps had simply questioned Salazar about an investigation regarding the sale of wild horses to a slaughter buyer.
This behavior is indicative of Secretary Salazar's behavior during his appointment as head of the Interior Department. He has proven time and again that his allegiances lie with the livestock and extraction industries and has placed those allegiances above the welfare of our public lands and wildlife. He has, in fact, become a bully for the livestock industry.
During this time Salazar was responsible for the de-listing of the wolves in the Northern Rockies, and the wolves of the Midwest. He was instrumental in the planning of the delisting of the wolves in Wyoming, going as far as agreeing to a shoot on sight kill plan for wolves in 75% of the state. Hundreds of wolves have died to his pandering to the livestock industry.
Secretary Salazar has also been responsible for ordering the roundup of thousands of wild horses from our public lands. The majority of these horses now stand in holding pens awaiting their fate. Recently it was uncovered that wild horses, in direct violation of federal law, are being sold for as little as $10 each, no questions asked. These horses are being purchased by "kill" buyers who transport them to Mexico for slaughter. While these horses live in pens and go to slaughter, our public lands are being overgrazed by livestock and our watersheds are being destroyed.
A May 14th, 2012 report released by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility stated that:
The “Rangeland Inventory, Monitoring and Evaluation Report for Fiscal Year 2011” covers BLM allotments in Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington and Wyoming. The report totals BLM acreage failing to meet rangeland health standards in measures such as water quality, watershed functionality and wildlife habitat:
• Almost 40% of BLM allotments surveyed since 1998 have failed to meet the agency’s own required land health standards with impairment of more than 33 million acres, an area exceeding the State of Alabama in size, attributed to livestock grazing;
• Overall, 30% of BLM’s allotment area surveyed to date suffers from significant livestock-induced damage, suggesting that once the remaining allotments have been surveyed, the total impaired area could well be larger than the entire State of Washington; and
• While factors such as drought, fire, invasion by non-native plants, and sprawl are important, livestock grazing is identified by BLM experts as the primary cause (nearly 80%) of BLM lands not meeting health standards.
"Last November, PEER filed a scientific integrity complaint that BLM had directed scientists to exclude livestock grazing as a factor in changing landscapes as part of a $40 million study, the biggest such effort ever undertaken by BLM. The complaint was referred to a newly appointed Scientific Integrity Officer for BLM but there are no reports of progress in the agency’s self-investigation in the ensuing months."
It has become clear to those of us who live in the West and also throughout this country that Secretary Salazar has refused to listen to any suggestions or consider any petitions regarding our public lands and wildlife. Instead he has focused on giving control of our lands to the livestock industry, who have in turn focused on the destruction of our lands and wildlife.
Secretary Salazar has also been responsible for the construction of large solar projects that have destroyed critical habitat for endangered species.
I have spoken to, and read statements by former BLM employees who have clearly stated that they are not allowed to do their jobs, but are instead required to follow the "politics of the day". These "politics" are responsible for the demise of our public lands and the deaths of our wildlife.
As such, we are requesting that Congressman Raul Grijalva be appointed as Secretary of the Interior. Congressman Grijalva has proven to be a strong advocate for the West and we believe that he will be able to provide a professional, non-biased, and balanced approach to the management of our public lands and wildlife.
If Congressman Grijalva declines the position, we would ask that both he and former Secretary of the Interior, Bruce Babbitt be consulted on a fair choice for the office.
We also believe that Senator Tom Udall of New Mexico and Senator Mark Udall of Colorado would make excellent candidates for this cabinet post.
Thank you for your consideration of our petition and we look forward to your nomination of Congressman Grijalva as Secretary of the Interior.