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ICYMI: Vitter says he won’t miss Salazar
By Darren Goode January 16, 2013
January 16, 2013

Sen. David Vitter went there again.

The Louisiana Republican certainly wasn't the only one on Capitol Hill to butt heads with outgoing Interior Secretary Ken Salazar. But while Republican colleagues mainly took the high road, Vitter was blunt about his former colleague's announcement to leave the Obama administration and return back home to Colorado.

"I wish Ken Salazar, a Senate classmate, all the best," Vitter began in a statement. "But I honestly won't miss him as Interior secretary."

Vitter has frequently criticized Salazar and his department for a months-long federal moratorium on offshore oil and gas drilling permits that followed the April 2010 Deepwater Horizon accident and massive Gulf of Mexico oil spill. "He supported the drilling moratorium overreaction to the BP disaster that cost us so many jobs," Vitter reiterated in his statement Wednesday.

Earlier this month, Vitter in a statement said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid "has again revealed himself to be an idiot" after the Nevada Democrat - in a speech calling for action on an emergency supplemental spending bill to aid victims of Hurricane Sandy - opined that that storm created more suffering than Hurricane Katrina, which slammed the Gulf coast in 2005.

Reid later backtracked on the comment, saying he "simply misspoke."

Top Republicans on the House and Senate natural resources panels also weighed in on Salazar's departure Wednesday.

House Natural Resources Chairman Doc Hastings (R-Wash.) - whose panel has probed the justification Salazar and others in the administration used to justify the federal drilling permit moratorium and other departmental actions - said that while he and Salazar "may not have always seen eye to eye on the issues, I thank Secretary [Ken] Salazar for his service to our country and wish him all the best in his future endeavors." He added that President Barack Obama must "nominate a secretary of the Interior who will realize the job- and revenue-creating potential of all-of-the-above energy production, will use sound science to guide decision making, and will protect public access to public lands for recreation and economic development."

Senate Energy and Natural Resources ranking member Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) - who also didn't agree with much of what Salazar did or did not do on the job - similarly noted in a statement, "Being the nation's top steward, responsible for one-fifth of all the land in the United States, is no easy task and Secretary Salazar performed it with the upmost dedication to his principles."

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