Interior Secretary Jewell True Outdoorswoman

April 30, 2013 by · Comments Off on Interior Secretary Jewell True Outdoorswoman 

Sally Jewell

Sally Jewell bounded up a granite boulder near the peak of Old Rag Mountain in Shenandoah National Park and turned back to her hiking companion, who was staring up at the smooth rock that offered no obvious hand- or footholds.

“Trust your feet,” she said.

That mountaineer’s mantra has carried  Jewell through a lifetime of challenging ascents and a varied career as petroleum engineer, banker and retail executive, the New York Times reported. On April 12, she was sworn in as the 51st secretary of the interior.

Jewell, 57, who has climbed Mount Rainier seven times along with some of the world’s highest peaks, said that she is happiest on the steepest part of the learning curve. A woman of untamed energy, competitiveness and confidence in the boardroom and on a mountain trail, she is undertaking perhaps the greatest challenge of her life as she assumes command of a huge bureaucracy in a city that festers barely above sea level.

Until President Obama tapped her as interior secretary to succeed Ken Salazar, a former Democratic senator from Colorado,  Jewell was chief executive of Recreational Equipment Inc. in Kent, Wash., a suburb of Seattle. She has never held elective office, though she has served as member of the board of trustees of the University of Washington and at a variety of nonprofits. She has spent little time in what residents of the Pacific Northwest call “the other Washington.”

Like many successful corporate titans who have come to Washington before her, she will learn that running a business or a university board is not necessarily adequate training for a top government post. She noted during a five-hour round-trip hike of Old Rag, for example, that no rational business executive would cut an operating budget across the board, as the federal budget process known as the sequester requires. And she said that no matter how determined she is to spend her time promoting outdoor recreation or increasing renewable energy production, events can rudely intrude.

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Newspaper: Jewell Good for Interior Dept.

April 17, 2013 by · Comments Off on Newspaper: Jewell Good for Interior Dept. 

Sally Jewell

Editor’s Note: The following editorial appeared in the Casper (Wyo.) Tribune.

One week ago, The United States Senate voted overwhelmingly to confirm Sally Jewell as the next secretary of interior. At the helm of the federal department that encompasses the Bureau of Land Management, the National Park Service and other agencies responsible for stewardship of our public lands and waters, she will have a positive impact on Wyoming’s outdoor recreation economy, while being mindful of our energy portfolio.

Jewell’s resume demonstrates the balance sought when managing diverse interests on federal lands. She spent her early career as a petroleum engineer and evolved to become the chief executive of outdoor retailer giant REI. Through her experience, Jewell understands that our nation’s public lands directly support the economy, both through responsible energy development and through access to recreational opportunities.

In Wyoming, we know that having a robust energy portfolio does not require sacrificing our inspiring landscapes. Careful planning and local input ensure that we can have both. The success of the Wyoming Range Legacy Act is an excellent example of our state’s ability to achieve that balance. With the focus on activities in the outdoors that Jewell would bring to the Department of Interior, Wyoming’s record of success can be a model for the nation.

Outdoor recreation is already a significant economic driver in our state. It generates $4.5 billion in consumer spending and $300 million in state and local tax revenue (based on a report by the Outdoor Industry Association based on surveys taken in 2011 and 2012). It directly sustains 50,000 jobs in the state, and supports $1.4 billion in wages and salaries. Towns like Cody, Lander and Jackson are heavily dependent on the outdoor recreation economy.

Indeed, most of us live here for the outdoor opportunities available. Whether hiking, climbing, horsepacking, four-wheeling, biking, fishing, hunting, birding or myriad other activities, we hold dear our access to public lands and the opportunities they provide. Jewell, too, thrives outside, and is an avid skier, kayaker and mountaineer.

Jewell’s values are reflected in her advocacy. In her time at REI, she was closely involved in efforts to promote opportunities on public lands. She engaged in the America’s Great Outdoors Initiative, which fostered a national conversation on connecting people with the outdoors, providing access opportunities, and seeking out partnerships. Through her close association with the initiative, she gained a solid understanding of the ongoing priorities for the Department of Interior.

At the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS), we are keenly aware of the value gained from having someone with an understanding of the significance and the benefits of recreation on public lands as the secretary of interior. From national parks to the Bureau of Land Management, NOLS operates extensively on Department of Interior lands across Wyoming and the American West. Teaching in these unique landscapes provides immeasurable opportunities for our students to develop as skilled outdoors people and mature into positive ethical leaders who understand complex land use issues.

With this new face of leadership at the Department of Interior, we have high hopes that our priorities in this state will be reflected in the management of the BLM and the national parks. Getting young people into the outdoors, making public lands accessible to outdoor enthusiasts, and supporting the economy that continues to thrive on these values need to be priorities as we progress in the 21st century.


Interior Nominee is OK’d on 19-3 Vote

March 22, 2013 by · Comments Off on Interior Nominee is OK’d on 19-3 Vote 

Sally Jewell

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee approved President Obama’s pick to lead the Interior Department, REI Chief Executive Sally Jewell, sending the nomination to the full Senate for consideration.

At a time when several Obama Cabinet nominees have faced high hurdles during the confirmation process, Jewell sailed through the committee with a 19-3 vote, according to a Los Angeles Times report. Republicans Mike Lee of Utah, Tim Scott of South Carolina and John Barrasso of Wyoming opposed her nomination.

Barrasso had questioned Jewell doggedly during the confirmation hearing a few weeks ago about her service on the board of the National Parks Conservation Association, an environmental group, an affiliation he cited in his decision to reject the nomination.

Like her predecessors at Interior, Jewell, 58, will have to balance competing demands on public lands for conservation and resource exploitation. During her confirmation hearing, Jewell hewed to administration talking points about achieving balance among various demands on public lands and pursuing an “all of the above” energy policy. She also underscored the growing focus on climate change during Obama’s second term.

Jewell is a true newcomer to Washington. Interior secretaries have traditionally been Western politicians, in part because most federal lands are in the West. But Jewell’s roots are in private industry and conservation. Born in Britain and raised in Washington state, Jewell worked as an engineer in the oil industry after college before going into banking and then moving to REI, which she helped build into a $2-billion-a-year company. At the same time, she has worked on land conservation efforts and served on the board of trustees of the National Parks Conservation Association.

More on Jewell’s Nomination to Interior Dept.

February 8, 2013 by · Comments Off on More on Jewell’s Nomination to Interior Dept. 

Sally Jewell

POLITICO reported last week that Sally Jewell, CEO at REI, had emerged as a serious candidate for secretary of the interior. But in selecting her, President Obama is bypassing potential candidates with longer political résumés, such as former Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire, along with internal department favorites such as Deputy Secretary David Hayes.

Jewell’s selection drew immediate support from conservation advocates as well as from some oil and gas industry supporters who have criticized Obama’s policies on energy production. But some industry groups weren’t yet ready to endorse her, and one House Republican subcommittee chairman expressed concern about REI’s ties to environmental groups with “radical political agendas.”

“Sally Jewell has the mind of an engineer, the heart of an environmentalist and the know-how of a businesswoman,” said a statement from Natural Resources Defense Council President Frances Beinecke, who is regarded as one of the most influential environmental advocates on climate policy, while Wilderness Society President Jamie Williams called Jewell “a tremendous leader for conservation at every level.”

“Sally Jewel has combined her business acumen with her love of the outdoors to become one of America’s top CEOs,” said Rep. Ed Markey of Massachusetts, the leading Democrat on the Natural Resources Committee. “She is proof positive that common sense, balanced conservation of our open spaces and natural resources can

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Interior Secretary Salazar to Retire in March

January 16, 2013 by · Comments Off on Interior Secretary Salazar to Retire in March 

Interior Secretary Kenneth Salazar

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, who over the past four years has crisscrossed the nation to oversee management of public lands ranging from national parks to offshore energy deposits, will step down from the job in March, National Parks Traveler reported.

The secretary, a former senator from Colorado before he was named to lead the Interior Department by President Obama, said he will return to that state after he leaves the agency.

“Colorado is and will always be my home. I look forward to returning to my family and Colorado after eight years in Washington, D.C.,” said Salazar in a prepared statement. “I am forever grateful to President Obama for his friendship in the U.S. Senate and the opportunity he gave me to serve as a member of his cabinet during this historic presidency.”

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