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Interior Sec. Salazar Is Latest Member Of Cabinet To Announce Departure

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar intends to step down at the end of March, his office confirms to NPR's Jeff Brady.

Word of Salazar's plan broke over night. According to The Denver Post, the former senator from Colorado intends to "return to Colorado to spend time with his family."

As the Post writes:

"Salazar has said in his four years he is most proud of improving the relationship the federal government has with American Indians, cleaning up the oil and gas program after former departments were plagued with scandal and nepotism, and broadening a clean energy agenda.

"The secretary established seven new national parks and 10 new wildlife refuges. He also launched 18 utility-scale solar energy projects on public lands. ...

"He has also dealt with several natural and environmental disasters, including the explosion of a BP-operated deep water oil well, Deepwater Horizon, in the Gulf of Mexico in April 2010. ...

"In his push to grow regulations for domestic energy production on federal lands -- particularly post Deepwater Horizon -- he often tangled with House Republicans, many of whom have called him one of the worst Interior secretaries in the history of the United States."

It's not unusual for administration officials who have spent one term with a president to leave at the start of the president's second term. Others in the Obama administration who are departing (and their likely successors, if they've been nominated):

-- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass.)

-- Defense Secretary Leon Panetta (former Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb.)

-- Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner (White House chief of staff Jacob "Jack" Lew)

-- Labor Secretary Hilda Solis.

Among those who are set to stay on:

-- Attorney Gen. Eric Holder

-- Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano

-- Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius

Copyright 2013 National Public Radio. To see more, visit www.npr.org.

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