President-elect Barack Obama continued last week's theme of energy independence—think Steve Chu. Today's announcement of his choices to lead the departments of the Interior and Agriculture focus instead on resources in the ground—oil, gas, and corn-based ethanol. Headed to Interior, Senator Ken Salazar (D–CO) has worked to promote fossil-fuel exploration, though he's respected by mainstream environmental groups for trying to balance that with environmental safeguards. Like Obama, both Salazar and Tom Vilsack, who will head USDA, are proponents of biofuels. But The New York Times's editorialists put science at the top of the agenda for Interior today, highlighting controversial decisions on endangered species during the Bush Administration:
Mr. Salazar’s most urgent task will be to remove the influence of politics and ideology from decisions that are best left to science.