Sally Jewell, who has been CEO of REI, a privately held outdoor recreation gear retail corporation organized as a consumers’ cooperative, has been nominated as the next secretary of the interior, the White House announced on Wednesday.
Jewell previously worked as an engineer in oil fields in Oklahoma and Colorado, and has a 19-year career as an energy expert in banking.
“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,” President Obama said as he introduced Jewell. “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 nomination was announced as Ken Salazar, who served as head of the Department of the Interior for the past four years, prepares to step down.
The White House has yet to announce replacements for Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa Jackson and Energy Secretary Steven Chu, among others.
Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), and 14 other Democratic senators last week urged the president to nominate for EPA administrator a candidate who is a strong supporter of public health and is committed to addressing climate change. Possible candidates include former Washington Governor Christine Gregoire (D); Gina McCarthy, assistant administrator for air and radiation; and Kathleen McGinty, who chaired the White House Council on Environmental Quality during the Clinton administration and is a former Pennsylvania environment secretary.
Jackson is expected to depart after the president delivers his State of the Union speech on Feb. 12.
Sources: POWERnews, White House