Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, made the following statement after President-elect Barack Obama nominated U.S. Sen. Ken Salazar, D-CO, to be Secretary of the U.S. Department of Interior.
Sen. Murkowski, who served with Sen. Salazar on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee for four years, said she was pleased by his nomination. Sen. Murkowski said his nomination is a positive sign that the incoming Obama administration plans to take a practical approach to resource development in federal areas.
“We’ve always got along well,” Murkowski said of her relationship with Sen. Salazar. “Sometimes we disagree but we’ve always been able to talk about the issues and I know he’ll always return my phone calls.”
The Interior Department is the biggest landlord of public land in Alaska, with title to more than 200 million acres or 60 percent of the state. As head of the Interior Department, Salazar will be tasked with a number of issues important to Alaska.
Sen. Salazar, a Democrat, has been a moderate voice in the debate on America’s need for a balanced energy policy. He’s been a strong proponent of developing renewable energy sources, of which Alaska has an abundance, and he’s worked across party lines to increase access for energy companies to the nation’s offshore resources.
“He has a reputation of being a consensus builder and a centrist,” Sen. Murkowski said. “And, more importantly, he’s a good listener.”
Sen. Murkowski looks forward to working with nominee Salazar in developing a sound and balanced energy policy for the country.