Well, they're tossing the "s" word around at Interior again. You know, the "s" word. "Science." Let's see if they pay closer attention to it than the old administration.
Yes, Ken Salazar, fresh out of the U.S. Senate and during his second day as Interior secretary for the Obama administration, pledged that science would drive decisions.
“I pledge to you that we will ensure the Interior Department’s decisions are based on sound science and the public interest, and not on the special interests," Secretary Salazar told Interior employees on Thursday.
Let's hope Interior holds to that pledge. After all, it was one of the things the Traveler wanted to see from the National Park Service in 2009.
But it seems we've heard that pledge before, haven't we?
Do you remember?
Back when former Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne wrote his cover letter to President Bush on the National Park Service's Centennial Initiative he promised that stewardship and science would guide decisions. And former NPS Director Bomar reiterated that during an interview with the Traveler in October 2007 at the National Park Foundation's Leadership Summit on Partnership and Philanthropy.
"When I came into the National Park Service, I didn't realize the in-depth that the good stewards in the national parks went to. Often, we'd be accused of studying things to death. If you didn't like the answer we'll do another study," she said at the time. "But I will say over time that I've come to really appreciate that, that we make good decisions based on good information."
Now, to be fair to Director Bomar, her predecessor, Fran Mainella, told the Traveler that her hands were tied by higher-ups in Interior when it came to snowmobiling in Yellowstone, so we assume the same hand was played when the most-recent snowmobile decision came out.
Which brings us back to Secretary Salazar's proclamation. Let's hope it holds water.