Obama announces agriculture, interior picks

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CHICAGO (Reuters) - President-elect Barack Obama on Wednesday announced he would name former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack to head the Agriculture Department and Colorado Sen. Ken Salazar as interior secretary.

Vilsack, a backer of renewable fuels from rural America, served two terms as Iowa’s governor and ran briefly for the Democratic presidential nomination before withdrawing in February 2007.

Salazar, who once practiced as an environmental lawyer, would make decisions on offshore oil and gas drilling as head of the Interior Department, which handles energy leases for federal land as well as national parks and other issues.

Both appointments require confirmation by the Senate, where Democrats have a majority.