Interior Secretary Ken Salazar is leaving the Obama administration in March. (Getty Images)

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar leaving Obama administration

WASHINGTON — Interior Secretary Ken Salazar will leave the Obama administration in March, an Obama administration official said Wednesday.

Salazar has run the Interior Department throughout President Barack Obama’s first term. Before joining the Cabinet, he served as a senator from Colorado. Salazar began his tenure with a pledge to help reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil. He told his confirmation hearing he would seek to expand renewable energy on public lands and promote the “wise use” of traditional energy sources.

President Obama said in a statement, “Ken has played an integral role in my Administration’s successful efforts to expand responsible development of our nation’s domestic energy resources.” The President added “I have valued Ken’s friendship since we both entered the Senate in 2005, and I look forward to receiving his counsel even after he returns to his home state of Colorado.”

Congressional Hispanic Caucus Chair Congressman Rubén Hinojosa (D-TX) paid homage to Salazar saying “Secretary Salazar has been a tireless advocate for our country’s natural resources and our national park system, bringing about a new era of commitment to renewable energy. One of Sec. Salazar’s major accomplishments for the Hispanic community was his work toward the establishment of César Estrada Chávez National Monument in Keene, California.”

Salazar is the latest Cabinet secretary to leave the administration as Obama heads into his second term. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Pentagon chief Leon Panetta, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Labor Secretary Hilda Solis are also leaving.

The administration official spoke on the condition of anonymity because the announcement of Salazar’s departure has not been made.

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