Monday, May 10, 2010



The first signs that President Obama was going to play along with the established energy game came early in the election campaign when he cozied up to Iowa's corn ethanol interests. Little has happened since to give comfort to those who have been hoping that he might begin to break the stranglehold over energy policy that agricultural, mining and oil interests exercised during the Bush years.

The first big policy marker came before his inauguration when then President-elect Obama signaled that he would appointed Ken Salazar as Secretary of Interior drawing praises from agriculture and mining interests and gasps from environmentalists.

More recently the Obama-Salazar team was responsible for a very weak "compromise" on the devastating practice of mountaintop coal mining. And now no less of a liberal supporter than Paul Krugman, analyzing how the Bush legacy contributed to the Deepwater Horizon disaster, is joining the chorus of criticism of Obama for his refusal to break with the policies of the Bush era.

"’s worth noting that environmentalists were bitterly disappointed when Mr. Obama chose Ken Salazar as secretary of the interior. They feared that he would be too friendly to mineral and agricultural interests, that his appointment meant that there wouldn’t be a sharp break with Bush-era policies — and in this one instance at least, they seem to have been right."

OK, I know that I'm sounding like a broken record but many of us were hoping that Obama was going to be a force for change.

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