LCSN: Former interior secretary lauds U.S. energy improvements during NMSU’s Domenici Conference

September 18, 2013. Retrieved online September 19, 2013 from Lindsey Anderson, Las Cruces Sun-News

[Excerpts below reprinted with permission: Read the complete Las Cruces Sun-News article]

LAS CRUCES >> American energy security is at a “good place,” former U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar said Wednesday at the Domenici Public Policy Conference.

Oil production is at a 10-year-high, natural gas is at an all-time high and the Gulf of Mexico is the fastest-growing off-shore market in the entire world, Salazar said at the annual New Mexico State University conference. The United States is also well on its way to surpassing Saudi Arabia in the as the largest oil producer in the world, he said.

The country has also moved from importing 60 percent of oil in the mid-2000s to 40 percent, he said.

Energy advancements

Technology, legislation and federal agencies that implement that legislation and technology are behind the improvements, said the former secretary, who resigned in April after more than four years under President Barack Obama.

Horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing are two technological innovations that have helped improve US energy efficiency and security, he said.

One student from Eastern New Mexico University asked the former secretary if solar energy would be like the cell phone, starting out bulky and expensive and eventually becoming cheaper and easier to navigate.

There is too much stopping and starting of solar incentives for it to be exactly like cell phones, Salazar said, noting there are significant improvements being made.

Thursday’s events

The two-day conference is in its sixth year and is hosted by NMSU’s Domenici Institute, which aims to continue Domenici’s legacy of service. About 800 attendees were registered for the two-day event, including nearly 40 percent students, who attend the conference for free.

Thursday’s speakers include Gov. Susana Martinez, former U.S. Sen. Bill Frist, White Sands Missile Range Brig. Gen. Gwen Bingham and former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton.

Wednesday also featured speeches by Joshua Cooper Ramo, vice chairman of Kissinger Associates Inc. and former foreign editor of TIME magazine; Guy Caruso, former administrator in the U.S. Energy Information Administration; Marianne Walck, director of the Geoscience, Climate and Consequence Effects Center at Sandia National Laboratories; Norm Warpinski, a technology fellow at Halliburton’s Pinnacle; and Lowell Catlett, dean of NMSU’s College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences.

For the conference agenda, visit

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