Published January 16, 2013
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar will step down from his position in President Obama's Cabinet to spend time with his family on his ranch in Colorado, Fox News confirms.
The former U.S. senator plans to announce his resignation Wednesday, and is expected to stay on with the administration until the end of March.
Salazar was chosen to serve as interior secretary in 2008.
Salazar pushed renewable power such as solar and wind, but he gained the most attention for his role in the industry-wide drilling moratorium after the April 2010 explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico. It was one of the largest environmental disasters in U.S. history and led to the unprecedented shutdown of offshore drilling.
Business groups and Gulf Coast political leaders said the shutdown crippled the oil and gas industry and cost thousands of jobs, even aboard rigs not operated by BP PLC.
But Salazar said the moratorium was the correct call. Salazar acknowledged that the drilling ban caused hardship, but he said his job was to protect the public and the environment even as the administration tried to boost domestic energy production. The moratorium was lifted in October 2010, although offshore drilling operations did not begin for several more months.
His departure marks the latest in a series of high-profile resignations from the president's Cabinet.
Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta are among those leaving.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.