Sally Jewell To Be Interior Secretary

Thanks to JZ for this..

Here’s the link, and below is an excerpt.

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama on Wednesday will nominate business executive Sally Jewell to lead the Interior Department, an administration official said.

Jewell is the president and chief executive officer at the outdoors company Recreational Equipment, Inc., known as REI, which sells clothing and gear for outdoor adventures with more than 100 stores across the country. Before joining REI in 2000, Jewell worked in commercial banking and as an engineer for Mobil Oil Corp. She took the top post at REI in 2005.

If confirmed, Jewell would replace current Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, who held the post throughout Obama’s first term. Salazar announced last month that he would step down in March.

Jewell is the first woman in Obama’s crop of second-term Cabinet nominees. The White House faced criticism that the new Cabinet lacked diversity after Obama tapped a string of white men for top posts, but Obama promised more diverse nominees were in the queue for other jobs.

Jewell’s confirmation would also put a prominent representative from the business community in the president’s Cabinet. REI is a $2 billion-a-year company and has been named by Fortune Magazine as one of the top 100 companies to work for.

Obama was to announce Jewell’s nomination during a ceremony in the White House State Dining Room Wednesday afternoon, according to the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity in order to confirm Jewell’s nomination ahead of the president.

Jewell has earned national recognition for her management skills and support for outdoor recreation and habitat conservation

In 2011 she introduced Obama at a White House conference on the “America’s Great Outdoors” initiative, noting that the $289 billion outdoor-recreation industry supports 6.5 million jobs.

Under Salazar, the Interior Department pushed renewable power such as solar and wind and oversaw a moratorium on offshore drilling after the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The moratorium was lifted in October 2010, although offshore drilling operations did not begin for several more months.

The Interior Department manages millions of acres in national parks and forests, overseeing energy and mining operations on some of the government-owned land.

Jewell’s nomination was hailed by conservation and business groups alike.

Sierra Club executive director Michael Brune called Jewell a champion in the effort to connect children with nature and said she has “a demonstrated commitment to preserving the higher purposes public lands hold for all Americans — recreation, adventure, and enjoyment.

The Western Energy Alliance, which represents the oil and natural gas industry in the West, also welcomed Jewell’s nomination.

“Her experience as a petroleum engineer and business leader will bring a unique perspective to an office that is key to our nation’s energy portfolio,” said Tim Wigley, the group’s president.

My take: this looks like not one of “the usual suspects” and a person who can see both sides. I’m liking this choice, plus I like the fact that if you are going to hold the FS feet to the fire about diversity, it’s time to walk the talk.

I also thought this was interesting…

Former Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt said Tuesday that Obama should adopt a principle in which every acre of public land that is leased to the oil and gas industry is matched by an acre permanently protected for conservation or recreation.

Over the past four years, more than 6 million acres of public lands have been leased for oil and gas, compared with 2.6 million acres permanently protected, according to U.S. Bureau of Land Management.

I have three thoughts. First, if you are going to run the numbers, then shouldn’t you add all federal lands together to get your used/”protected” ratio? BLM plus Parks plus Refuges, plus FS?
Second, it this all about oil and gas? Or is “protected” no grazing, no OHV’s, etc.?
Third, oil and gas structures go away after some years, maybe you should require the O&G folks to put everything back on the surface and then “protect” it.

2 Comments

  1. The land and water conservation fund is a much more elegant solution already in place: use a small percentage of oil and gas royalties to acquire ecologically important tracts of land for federal or state conservation management. Too bad congress has refused in recent years to honor the statuary intent of this legislation by not appropriating even a small fraction of what the lwcf authorizes.

    • Terry- I agree. One thing I noticed while working on climate change was the need for states and feds to get coordinated about wildlife corridors and connections. In Colorado it may have gotten bogged down in “what corridors will still be good under climate change” modeling. Nevertheless, I think it would be good to take the oil and gas bucks (maybe matched by some of what the state gets from the leases 🙂 ) and target high priority corridors and linkages.

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