President Obama has named Sally Jewell to be the next Secretary of the Interior.
A native of Great Britain, Jewell has a degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Washington and started out in the oil industry. She was a commercial banker before joining the board of directors of Recreational Equipment Incorporated (REI) in 1996. She became CEO of the outdoor gear and clothing company in 2005.
She has won numerous environmental awards and serves on the boards of several nonprofit environmental groups including the National Parks Conservation Association.
In making the nomination, the President stated: “So even as Sally has spent the majority of her career outside of Washington — where, I might add, the majority of our interior is located, she is an expert on the energy and climate issues that are going to shape our future. She is committed to building our nation-to-nation relationship with Indian Country. She knows the link between conservation and good jobs. She knows that there’s no contradiction between being good stewards of the land and our economic progress; that in fact, those two things need to go hand in hand. She has shown that a company with more than $1 billion in sales can do the right thing for our planet."
The choice has drawn support from a number of groups including the Western Energy Alliance, a nonprofit oil and natural gas trade association.
Dustin Van Liew, director of federal lands for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association says while he likes Jewell’s private sector experience, he does have some concerns with her ties to organizations which advocate restrictions on the use of federal lands for grazing and other uses.
Jewell would replace Ken Salazar who intends to step-down in March.