Former secretary of the interior sees conservation as a way to close physical, social, political divides
By Judith Kohler
The Denver Post
Throughout his career in Colorado state government, the U.S. Senate and as secretary of the interior, Ken Salazar has focused on the natural environment and the people who rely on it.
His motto was “Fighting for Colorado’s Land, Water and People” during his successful campaigns for state attorney general and the Senate. The motto took on broader significance when former President Barack Obama chose him to lead the Interior Department.
“That’s always been at the heart of who I am, understanding the importance of rivers, water, land, open space and wildlife,” said Salazar, whose family’s roots are deep in Colorado’s San Luis Valley and northern New Mexico.
Salazar, now a partner with the international law firm WilmerHale, was intent on keeping his focus on conservation. Two years ago, he cofounded the Salazar Center for North American Conservation.
It is his hope that with the country more polarized than ever, Americans can find common ground on the most pressing environmental problems — climate change, land use, water quality and quantity — and that the center can bring together diverse ideas and people.
“I think the area of conservation, how we protect our lands, our air and our water, can be a great unifier for a very divided world and a very divided nation,” said Salazar.