Salazar gets feisty with API * update

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar went on the offensive this morning in a call announcing the onshore oil and gas leasing plan for 2010.
There will be 37 lease sales, including, in August, the first lease sale in several years in Alaska’s National Petroleum Reserve, Salazar said.
But he countered industry claims that the Obama administration has not done enough to open up more of the country’s oil and gas reserves.
“Trade groups for the oil and gas industry repeatedly launch attacks that have all the poison and assumptions of election-year politics,” Salazar sad in the call. “Oil and gas companies act as if they own the public’s lands, but they do not. Taxpayers do.”
Salazar said oil and gas company shareholders have two choices: let their companies sign on to industry efforts that let them “act like an arm of a political party,” or “engage constructively to find common-sense solutions” to improving the oil and gas leasing process.
Salazar wouldn’t say which groups or comments he was addressing specifically but it’s clear it was aimed at comments like this from the American Petroleum Institute.
API’s response to Salazar’s strong words is very measured:
“While we appreciate the already anticipated lease sale announcement for 2010, the oil and natural gas industry, which supports 9.2 million American jobs, believes more can be done to expand the economy and create new jobs,” said American Petroleum Institute President Jack Gerard in a statement. “We want to be part of the solution and a constructive partner in a comprehensive energy policy that could create over a hundred thousand new jobs and we are ready to meet with Secretary Salazar to help advance our shared objectives.”