Sally Jewell Nominated to Replace Salazar at Interior Department

Everything You Wanted to Know About Sally Jewell but were Afraid to Ask (unedited)

Sally_JewellWASHINGTON  — President Barack Obama on Wednesday nominated outdoor business executive Sally Jewell to lead the Interior Department.

Obama said Jewell, president and chief executive at REI, has earned national recognition for her support of outdoor recreation and habitat conservation. He also noted her experience as an engineer in oil fields and her record of achievement and environmental stewardship at REI, which sells clothing and gear for outdoor use.

“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 and hand,” Obama said at a White House ceremony.

Jewell is the first woman nominated for Obama’s second-term cabinet

At REI, Jewell “has shown that a company with more than $1 billion in sales can do the right thing for our planet,” Obama said. Last year, REI donated nearly $4 million to protect trails and parks, and 20 percent of the electricity used in the company’s stores comes from renewable sources.

Jewell, the first woman Obama has nominated for his Cabinet in his second term, would replace current Interior Secretary Ken Salazar if confirmed by the Senate. Salazar has held the post throughout Obama’s first term. He announced last month that he would step down in March.

Jewell, 56, emerged as a frontrunner for the Interior post in recent days, edging out better-known Democrats such as former Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire and former Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter. The Interior job traditionally has gone to politicians from Western states. Salazar was a Colorado senator before taking over at Interior in 2009.

Jewell donated $5,000 to Obama’s re-election effort and has supported other Democrats, campaign finance records show.

Lack of diversity draws criticism

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 also would 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.

Jewell was born in England, but moved to the Seattle area before age 4 and is a U.S. citizen.

In 2011, Jewell 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. She also appeared at a 2009 White House event on health care.



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: A massive operation

The Interior Department manages more than 500 million acres in national parks and other public lands, and more than 1 billion acres offshore, overseeing energy, mining operations and recreation. The department also provides services to 566 federally recognized Indian tribes.

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.

Wigley said his group hopes Jewell will work to develop oil and gas on non-park, non-wilderness public lands.

Jewell’s appointment comes as Democrats and environmental groups are urging Obama to step up efforts to conserve public lands in his second term.

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.

Jewell, who is married with two grown children, was paid more than $2 million as REI’s CEO in 2011. She contributed $5,000 to the Obama Victory Fund, a joint fundraising committee set up by Obama and the Democratic Party, according to federal election records. She has contributed to Rep. Rick Larsen, D-Wash., and a political action committee that supports Democrats.

Jewell also was on the board of directors of Avista Corp., a Spokane-based power utility, from 1997 through 2003. U.S. Securities and Exchange documents show that in her last full year as an Avista board member, Jewell held more than 15,600 shares in the utility and received $50,000 in director’s fees.

In 2004, federal prosecutors charged that Avista played a role in a 2000 deal that allowed then-energy giant Enron to sell a $3 million turbine to the northwest utility firm. Prosecutors did not criminally charge Avista, but said the utility agreed to buy the turbine before a larger deal was completed — a move that aided Enron in hiding the turbine deal from its auditors.

Jewell was on Avista’s audit and finance committee when the utility bought the turbine in 2000. Avista was not criminally charged in the Enron indictment and none of the utility’s officials, including Jewell, were cited in the charges. Avista officials at the time denied any knowledge of Enron’s internal moves.

Houston-based Enron collapsed in 2001 amid fraud and corruption charges.

17 comments on “Sally Jewell Nominated to Replace Salazar at Interior Department

  1. More of the same…except now from oil and gas instead of cattle.

    “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.”

    Obama has become the Sarah Palin of the Democratic party…greed comes before the lives of our wildlife.


    • That’s because animals — at least free-roaming ones — aren’t seen as individuals who have lives that matter, Steve. They’re viewed as “natural resources” for us humans to “use” in whatever way we see fit. Or, at best, they’re members of a species deemed important only if it’s endangered and thus imperils the balance of the ecosystem. Right? REI…ght!

      At least REI doesn’t sell killing equipment — that is, guns and ammo. Not that I can find on its website, anyway.

      I’m wondering what ranchers and hunters think of her nomination. We shall soon find out.


  2. When I read all the petitions to encourage the President to appoint Raul Grijalva, a wild horse supporter, I was afraid that would doom his consideration. The fact the most environmental groups wanted Grijalva sealed his fate! This administration seems to feel that if one of its cabinet members is actually welcomed by the general public, they must be doing something wrong!
    There’s something very wrong when it’s more important to meet a percieved “quota” in placing a secretary of the interior than it is to serve your nation in a manner that is responsible and supportive of the ideals of the charges in your care.


  3. Hoping she can achieve a balance between all of the pressures our wild lands are facing, and that our wild life isn’t on the losing end. It won’t be easy.


  4. Can anyone tell me if there is a way to “derail” this nomination? Because in my darkest thoughts, I’ve thought that Obama was behind the removal of our wild horses all along. This pretty much confirms it…..Obama is no more than a liar and hypocrite. Obama put up a false front to get re-elected and now is free to continue his hidden agenda.


    • No way that i can see….but i see only doom. considering that she was endorsed in the Washington post by the Wyss foundation, and ecology group that largely financed the junk science report that advocates removing all the “feral” horses from the range. Also, a perusal of the Sierra’s postion paper on horses last night revealed that they advocate shooting ‘feral’ burros and removing horses from the range…in fact , the Sierra Club strongly advocated the Calico roundup. And Jewell has strong ties to the sierra club…..I think that if she gets in she will advocate ‘humanely’ getting the horses off the range. I just don’t think she is well qualified, and i think we will be very disappointed….


      • It is truly looking bleak. Short of taking it to the streets (which I think should have been done long ago), someone a lot smarter than I am can maybe think of who can help us…..I’ve asked Dennis Kucinich who had a petition asking for Grijalva, I’ve also complied a list of phone #’s & fax #’s for all those on the Comm. on Energy & Natural Resources who will have to confirm her asking that they vote against her nomination. Don’t know if any of this will do any good, but it’s all I can think of right now.


  5. Tim Wigley says “drill and mine on more of the non-park and non-wilderness areas” .Isn’t that where most of the mustangs live? Could be more of the same. Have to wait and see.


  6. What person or agency is responsible for this piece RT reposted here?

    All I see is “Washington”….

    I think there may be some serious conflict and corruption issues brewing at DOI and as Louie proposed on the earlier thread, this nominee may well be the “throw under the bus” nominee when the real facts come out.


  7. My Grandmother was Amelia Jane Jewell and from the UK as I .am. She loved horses as I do and both she and I grew up with horses! I am going to take this appointment of Sally Jewell as a good omen for the wild horses!

    English people tend to have a strong love of all animals and a fierce propensity for protecting them

    Perhaps Sally Jewell is a distant relative of mine? (Not a joke) She is British and her surname is not that common At some point when I can find an avenue to connect with her regarding the BLM ect,I will

    Sarah -Jane West
    Victoria BC Canada


  8. People need to understand this administration and its supporters agenda are ten times worse than anything they think they know & feel about past administrations. None of you matter at all if you can not either help them in their quest for absolute power or if you stand in their way trying to help UNIMPORTANT ANIMALS. It isn’t about environment…it is about power and control and how quickest to collapse and destroy those that have what they want. And whoever used Sarah Palin as an example of evil and greed is dumber than a rock if that is how they perceive reality.


    • Personal opinions about Obama is not what is needed. Ideas on how to coalesce the hugh number of people who want the slaughter of horses and its evils to come to an end is. Try and put those attitudes toward a solution. Getting the politicals to hear us is paramount. We need to speak louder and act even louder.


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