U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar will step down from the post he has held for four years to return to Colorado, the While House announced Wednesday.
"As the Secretary of the Interior, Ken has helped usher in a new era of conservation for our nation's land, water, and wildlife," President Obama said in a statement.
The president said Salazar had expanded "responsible development" of U.S. domestic energy resources and made "historic strides" in resolving long-standing disputes with Native American tribes.
"I have had the privilege of reforming the Department of the Interior to help lead the United States in securing a new energy frontier, ushering in a conservation agenda for the 21st century, and honoring our word to the nation's first Americans," Salazar said in a statement released by the Interior Department.
Leading the Interior Department "is perhaps the most wonderful job of any cabinet position in the United States," Salazar said in December.
Salazar, 57, was a U.S. senator representing Colorado when Obama picked him in 2008 to lead Interior, The Denver Post reported.
Both Obama and Vice President Joe Biden had indicated they wanted Salazar to stay on, but he wanted to spend more time with his family. Salazar and his wife are the primary caretakers of their 5-year-old autistic granddaughter, who is enrolled in a special school.
Salazar is expected to step down in March.
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