Hon. Ken Salazar

50th U.S. Secretary of the Interior

Ken Salazar has served as United States Secretary of the Interior, United States Senator, and Colorado Attorney General.  The Secretary is a partner in the global law firm of WilmerHale and has started the Denver office for the Firm.  Secretary Salazar has been admitted to practice law in all Colorado state and federal courts, the United States Supreme Court, and is admitted to practice law in Colorado and Washington, D.C..


Secretary Salazar also serves on the Board of Directors of the Target Corporation.  The Target Corporation is an American retailing company, founded in 1902, and a Fortune 500 company.


Secretary Salazar advises clients on national and international legal matters based on his private and public sector experience, as an energy, environmental and water rights lawyer in the private sector, and service as Colorado Attorney General, United States Senator, and Secretary of the Interior. His areas of expertise include energy, environment and natural resources, and Native American legal issues.


Professional Background


Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr, LLP, Partner (2013-present).  In June 2013, Ken became a partner in the global law firm of WilmerHale. He is a member of the firm's Regulatory and Government Affairs Department and works in the Strategic Response, Environmental, Energy, and Native American practice groups. He provides legal, strategic and policy advice to national and international clients, particularly on matters at the intersection of law, business and public policy.  Ken is able to draw on his deep experience in energy, environmental and natural resources, and tribal issues to assist the firm’s clients.


United States Cabinet, United States Secretary of the Interior (2009-2013). As Secretary, Ken Salazar helped lead the United States energy efforts in developing and implementing the President's "all of the above energy strategy." The effort included overseeing the exploration and development of conventional and renewable energy resources on the nation's public lands and oceans, and working on matters relating to climate change, exploration of frontier areas like the Arctic, leading the successful response to the 2010 Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill, and overhauling the regulatory oversight over oil and gas exploration and production. He also created the five-year plan that governs the leasing for oil and exploration for the Gulf of Mexico, Atlantic, Pacific, and Arctic Seas.


During that time, Secretary Salazar also led the effort to permit over 11,000 MW of power on public lands from solar, wind and geothermal sources (the equivalent of power from 30 regular power plants) and developed the blueprint for future siting and development of these resources, including high priority transmission infrastructure projects. As part of his renewable energy efforts, he also created the first offshore wind energy plan for the Atlantic Ocean.


As Secretary, he led the Nation's efforts on conservation, including the creation of ten National Parks and ten National Wildlife Refuges, and organized over 100 other conservation and preservation projects in the United States. He also led successful resolution of bilateral energy and conservation efforts with Mexico and Canada along the two borders and in the Arctic.


As Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar appeared before Committees of the United States Congress and provided testimony at over 30 hearings. (For a representative list of such Congressional testimony, see Attachment B.)


Finally, he led the President's initiatives in creating a new chapter with Native American tribes and Alaska Natives. This effort included the resolution of long-standing conflicts like the Cobell litigation and numerous water rights settlements and permitting the first oil and gas refinery and solar projects in Indian country.


United States Senate, United States Senator for Colorado (elected November 2004; served 2005-2009). During his time in the Senate, Senator Ken Salazar served on key committees, including Energy and Natural Resources, Finance and Ethics. Highlights of that service include the enactment of the 2005 Energy Policy Act, the 2006 Gulf of Mexico Security Act, the 2007 Farm Bill, and the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act. In each of these efforts, he was a central player in putting together the successful bipartisan efforts that created the most significant energy legal framework in U.S. history.


As U.S. Senator, Ken also helped lead a bipartisan group of Senators on comprehensive immigration reform, the War in Iraq, and the beginning of health care reform, which was finally enacted into law in 2010. As a member of the Ethics Committee, he was involved in reviewing and resolving ethics matters related to other United States Senators.


State of Colorado, Attorney General (elected 1998 and re-elected 2002; served 1999-2005). As Attorney General, Ken served as the top legal officer for the State of Colorado and oversaw thousands of civil and criminal legal matters and investigations before State and Federal Courts, including the State Supreme Court and the United States Supreme Court. He also exercised the exclusive authority to convene and present matters before the State Grand Jury.


Some of the notable matters investigated and reported on included sexual assault allegations against the University of Colorado football program, the homicide of a Native American young man in southwestern Colorado, and the review of numerous law enforcement matters relating to the Columbine High School killings. He also led many investigations and resolution of matters relating to securities fraud and consumer protection, including multistate securities fraud and consumer protection matters. Finally, he led the resolution of some of the most complex natural resource and environmental conflicts in Colorado history, including long-standing natural resource damage cases at places like the Summitville mine and other CERCLA cases that had been filed some 25 years earlier.


State of Colorado Cabinet, Executive Director, Colorado Department of Natural Resources (1990-1994); Chief Legal Counsel to the Governor (1987-1990). Over seven years, Ken Salazar served first as Chief Legal Counsel and then as Executive Director of the Department of Natural Resources for Governor Roy Romer of Colorado.


As Chief Legal Counsel for the Governor, he was involved as part of the Governor’s “Kitchen Cabinet” in all important matters to the State of Colorado, including economic development, crisis management, and appointments to all Courts, including the Supreme Court. He also oversaw the Governor’s efforts on criminal justice, corrections, parole and commutation matters.


As a member of the Governor’s cabinet as Executive Director of the Department of Natural Resources, Ken spearheaded all efforts on oil and gas, mineral, water, and conservation matters for the State of Colorado.














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