Pro-fracking insider appointed by Clinton to head presidential transition team

Ken Salazar, head of Hillary Clinton's transition team, if she wins. © Jim Young
Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton is no longer worried about appealing to progressive Bernie Sanders supporters, if her transition team selection is anything to go by.

Even though she hasn’t won the election yet, the former secretary of state chose her old cabinet colleague, Ken Salazar, a big supporter of fracking who served as President Barack Obama’s interior secretary.

The controversial method of extracting gas was a big wedge issues between Bernie backers and Clinton, so this move could push more progressives towards her Green Party opponent Jill Stein, the only major presidential candidate against the controversial method for extracting gas.

Clinton’s transition team will put together names for cabinet and administration positions - and develop policy plans, shaping her presidency from day one.

Salazar served as a Colorado senator from 2005-2009 before joining the Obama administration as secretary of the interior, where he was responsible for allowing offshore drilling in the Arctic Ocean.

He’s a friend of the coal and mining industries - and supporter of the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement, which gives corporations power to ignore and quash government regulations aimed at protecting the environment.

Salazar went from the Obama cabinet to a law and lobbying firm Wilmer Hale, the third most influential firm in 2015.

© Larry Downing

While not technically a lobbyist, he spent his time at Wilmer Hale pushing a pro-fracking agenda and supporting TPP.

“We know that, from everything we’ve seen, there’s not a single case where hydraulic fracking has created an environmental problem for anyone,” Salazar said, speaking at a oil and gas conference called the North American Prospect Expo in 2014, where he pushed the benefits of fracking. “We need to make sure that story is told.”

In 2015, he co-wrote an op-ed for USA Today which alleged TPP would be “the greenest trade deal ever,”reports the Intercept.

While Salazar boasted of the TPP’s ability to protect elephants and the ozone layer as well as encourage renewable energy, he failed to mention the deal’s lack of enforceable environmental protection provisions or protections against overfishing and illegal logging.  

Greenpeace referred to Salazar’s appointment as “the last thing her team needs” if she hopes to tackle climate change.

“(Salazar) illustrates time and again that he is on the side of big industry, and not of the people,” Greenpeace’s Molly Dorozenski said. “His most recent opposition to the anti-fracking initiatives in his home state of Colorado directly undermines Clinton’s alleged support of local control over fracking. If Secretary Clinton wants to be the environmental leader that she claims to be in campaign speeches, she has to put the people before industry insiders.”

Two of the transition team co-chairs are longtime Clinton insiders dating back to her husband’s time in the White House.

Neera Tanden is a Clinton policy advisor and Maggie Williams was her former chief of staff as first lady.

Former National Security Advisor (and Bilderberg attendee) Tom Donilon, pro-Clinton super PAC head and former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm, and Clinton aides Ed Meier and Ann O'Leary will all serve as co-chairs to the transition team.

Donilon was picked to lead a team to enhance cybersecurity in February, although it’s not known if that includes a private email server.

As chief of staff to Bill Clinton’s Secretary of State Warren Christopher, Donilon worked on the Bosnian peace agreement and NATO expansion.