Department of Interior

Ken Salazar Stepping Down from Department of Interior

Returning home to Colorado

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Ken Salazar, the blunt-spoken lawyer and rancher who took over the scandal-ridden Interior Department at the outset of the Obama administration, said Wednesday that he would step down in March to return to his home in Colorado.

He did not say what he intended to do after leaving Washington, and the White House gave no hint of who might succeed him.

Mr. Salazar's exit, along with the announced resignation of Lisa P. Jackson, the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, and the anticipated departure of Energy Secretary Steven Chu, will leave vacant the critical cabinet posts dealing with climate change and energy, among the most pressing challenges facing the nation.