Interior Secretary Ken Salazar likes his job but hasn't decided whether he'd consider an offer to stay in the Cabinet if President Obama is re-elected, he said in an interview with the Houston Chronicle.
Salazar has drawn occasional fire from the right and the left for his handling of offshore drilling, domestic energy production and other issues.
He wouldn't say definitively whether he would stay on if asked -- only that he believes Obama will be re-elected, and then it will be time for a conversation about his future.
"My job right now is to make sure I'm doing a good job as secretary of the Interior," he said.
His resume includes five years as Colorado's attorney general and four years representing the state in the U.S. Senate. He is one of two Hispanics in Obama's cabinet.
He said heading the Interior Department has been the "highest privilege" in his public service career.
"There's not easy answers," Salazar said in reflecting on the possibility of staying on the job next year. "On the one hand, for me, I'm a long way from home -- my family in Colorado. On the other hand, the work that we are doing is very fulfilling to me personally."
The Interior Department oversees U.S. land and waters -- including tribal territory, forests and national parks.
Environmentalists have at times been disappointed with Salazar for his handling of endangered species issues -- including a 2009 decision to uphold a Bush administration policy that the Endangered Species Act and the potential peril to polar bears should not be used as a vehicle for regulating greenhouse gas emissions linked to climate change.
After the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, conservationists blamed the Interior Department for approving oil and gas exploration offshore without subjecting the plans to robust environmental assessments.
At the same time, industry leaders have accused the department of slow-walking permits to drill in the Gulf and blocking exploration along the Atlantic coast.
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