04/02/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Salazar Wants To Bring Back A Teddy Roosevelt-Style Youth Conservation Corps (VIDEO)

I'm not sure if EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson or Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar have ever dreamt of being rock stars. If so, their dreams almost came true on Friday night, when the two Obama cabinet members took the stage at Power Shift 2009. Greeted by a roaring and raucous crowd of 12,000 young people packing the cavernous main hall of the Washington D.C. Convention Center for this historic conference, it was a close to the rock star treatment the two are likely to receive from any crowd.

Ken Salazar must have fed off that energy as he took the stage, because he delivered a bombastic performance, complete with his signature enthusiastic gesticulation ("This guy's a pointer!" my friend leaned over to say just a few minutes into his speech. Boy was she right!).

Obama's new Secretary of the Interior said the new energy economy is upon us and pledged that his agency would help harness the wind and the sun to power the nation. "For too long the Department of the Interior has been known as the Department of the West, or the Department of Oil and Energy and Gas Production," Salazar lamented. Before calling on the crowd of Power Shifters to help him to transform the department, "because it is a Department of America."

Speaking to the young audience, Salazar also promised to implement a national youth conservation corps "effort that we have not seen since Teddy Roosevelt was President of the United States." Salazar said the Interior Department would "employ thousands and thousands of young people to come and ressurect the treasures of America," and closed his speech with a promise: to create "the best 21st century youth conservation corps that the world has ever seen."

Check out the video below (and watch out for those fingers!)...

Jesse Jenkins is a featured blogger and editorial board member at The Energy Collective.