On Wednesday, February 6, President Obama announced the nomination of Sally Jewell, the CEO of outdoor retailer REI, to fill the post of Secretary of the Interior, after Ken Salazar’s resignation. The nomination has received support from many natural resource non-profits such as National Wildlife Federation (NWF), The Nature Conservancy, The American Sportfishing Association, The National Wildlife Refuge Association, and The Corps Network.
Jewell’s varied background from the private sectors of oil, banking, and business have been praised to prepare her to balance the difficult dichotomy of the Interior department’s mission to “[Protect] America’s Great Outdoors and [Power] our future”. However without a political background to provide a pattern of past voting, many others are awaiting to hear her responses at the Senate confirmation hearing, in order to gauge where the balance will lie between resource conservation and energy development.
Jewell’s ‘environmental record’ includes work on the boards of the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust, REI, the National Parks Conservation Association, and committee chair of “Connecting People to Parks” as a commissioner to the National Parks Second Century Commission. REI’s conservation and sustainability practices while she presided also speak to her stewardship in business ethics.
Although she is not a politician, Jewell was involved with the implementation of America’s Great Outdoors program. In 2011 she introduced President Obama at the White House conference on the Initiative during which she remarked, that the “$289 billion outdoor-recreation industry is the source of 6.5 million jobs” (New York Times). Jewell’s background has given conservation and environmental groups reason to believe that she will continue to conserve America’s natural resources for youth to enjoy, through policies actively supporting America’s Great Outdoor Initiative and a 21st Century Conservation Service Corps, while balancing millions of American jobs.
Sources: ESA’s Ecotone blog (Feb. 8, 2013), Ethix (Feb. 1 2009), Forbes (May 19, 2011), New York Times (February 7, 2013), Seattle Times (March 23, 2005), The Independent (Feb. 10, 2013), The Woodrow Wilson Awards, University of Washington Board of Regents
Photo Credit: Paul Souza, Official White House Photo
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