Interior Secretary nominee agrees to visit Montana at Tester’s request

Tester invites Secretary-designate Salazar to Treasure State during meeting today

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – During a meeting today with Senator Jon Tester, the man chosen to serve as the nation’s next Secretary of the Interior agreed to visit Montana after he’s confirmed for the job.

Tester met with Interior Secretary-designate Ken Salazar, currently a U.S. Senator from Colorado, to discuss Montana and the future challenges and opportunities of the U.S. Interior Department.

During the meeting, Tester suggested he and Salazar visit the Blackfeet Indian Reservation and tour the St. Mary Canal by horseback.  The crumbling, nearly 100-year-old canal needs to be upgraded because it supplies water to thousands of people across northern Montana.

Specific details of Salazar’s visit to Montana have not been scheduled.

“As a westerner, Ken understands the challenges we face,” Tester said.  “He knows our resources and our western values.  I look forward to having him out to Montana again as we work together to do what’s best for Montana and our country.”

Today, Tester and Salazar also discussed Montana’s promising energy future.  After he was nominated by President-elect Barack Obama, Salazar said he wants to “take the moon shot” at achieving America’s energy independence.

“That energy imperative will create jobs here in America, protect our national security, and confront the dangers of global warming,” Salazar said.

Tester agreed, saying Montana will help lead America toward energy independence.

The U.S. Interior Department manages much of the nation’s federal land, including all national parks, monuments and federal wildlife refuges.  The Interior Department also oversees the Bureau of Land Management, the Bureau of Reclamation, the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Tester today also met with:

  • U.S. Energy Secretary-designate Dr. Steven Chu.
  • U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chairwoman nominee Mary Schapiro.
  • U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary-designate Shaun Donovan.

On Tuesday, Tester met with U.S. Agriculture Secretary-designate Gov. Tom Vilsack.

High-resolution photographs of Tester’s in-person meetings today are available on request.