The plight of the prairie chickens, smelt fish and dunes sagebrush lizards is not just a policy cause for environmentalists anymore, but the weapon of choice in a war on jobs by the Obama Administration, say critics in Congress.
The policies in effect at the Interior Department, now led by Secretary Ken Salazar, are supposed to protect endangered species against certain annihilation. But they’re also turning farmlands into dust bowls and running oil and gas development off the land, out of the water and out of the country.
And in some cases, even eco-friendly energy development is getting the cold shoulder.
“I think they have constructed the most effective job-killing machine in the history of the country,” said Rep. Tom McClintock (R.-Calif.).
“If Salazar’s job is to kill jobs, then he gets an A plus,” added Rep. Devin Nunes (R.-Calif.) “His department has killed more jobs in the U.S. than any other federal agency.”
California’s Central Valley struggles for water because some 200 billion gallons are diverted to the Pacific Ocean for the benefit of the Delta smelt, Nunes said.
That man-made drought has idled more than a quarter of a million acres of farmland and, with thousands of farmers out of work, the unemployment rate is one of the highest in the country at more than 20%, Nunes said.
“The goal of the Obama political appointees is all about stopping capitalism and stopping job creation. And the halls of Interior are filled with environmental extremists,” Nunes said.