Deputy Secretary of the Interior Blocked By Senate
The Department of the Interior is still unable to fully staff up and fulfill its mission thanks to virtually every Senate Republican. Yesterday the GOP, with the exception of Senators Kyl and Snowe, blocked the nomination of David Hayes to be deputy Interior secretary, a position that is second only to Secretary Salazar. This counterproductive and frivolous effort is being led by Senator Bennett from Utah. He has been threatening this pettiness for quite some time and it seems that he's rallied most of his party behind him. The vote is one out of pure spite towards the Secretary for canceling 77 illegitimate lease sales in Utah that had been pushed through in December by the Bush administration.
It's painful to see a political party embarrass themselves like this. As the Secretary himself said in a statement, "This was a tired vote of bitter obstructionism. It may be uncomfortable for some to watch us have to clean up mess after mess--from corruption to lawbreaking--that is the previous administration's legacy at Interior, but to cast a vote against such a qualified and fine person is the height of cynicism." What's more painful, however, is that four months after the Obama administration came to power we are still left without the second most important person at an agency in charge of managing 20% of our nation's lands. Bennett's bitterness seriously hinders the ability of Interior to do its job and in doing so puts our lands and wildlife at risk.