According to reports, President Obama will nominate Sally Jewell to replace outgoing Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar. Jewell is the president and CEO of Recreational Equipment, Inc., better known as outdoor outfitter REI, and a former oil company official. If she becomes Secretary of the Interior, she’ll oversee several different departments that deal with environmental issues, including the National Park Service and the Office of Surface Mining and Reclamation.
OSM in particular has several big initiatives on the horizon, including a controversial change to the stream buffer zone rule for mountaintop removal mines and a comprehensive survey of all coal slurry impoundments in Appalachia. But Jewell’s confirmation hearings will likely focus on her thoughts toward drilling for oil and natural gas on public lands, according to the New York Times.
Praise for Jewell has already begun coming in from environmental groups.
From Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune:
“There are few more outspoken or dedicated champions in the effort to connect children with nature than Sally Jewell, who has provided critical support to the Sierra Club Inner City Outings program and played an integral role in founding the Outdoors Alliance for Kids.
“In Jewell, President Obama chose a leader with a demonstrated commitment to preserving the higher purposes public lands hold for all Americans – recreation, adventure, and enjoyment. We look forward to working closely with her to preserve more of those benefits and more of our natural heritage by designating new national monuments, protecting America’s Arctic from risky drilling, and keeping dirty and dangerous fracking out of our public lands.”
From Brian O’Donnell, Executive Director of the Conservation Lands Foundation:
“We are very pleased with the nomination of Sally Jewell. She has been a talented and effective business leader and passionate advocate for the outdoors. Our public lands will be well managed by Jewell, who has long been a leader in engaging the business community in conservation.”