Senate confirms Jewell’s nomination as Interior secretary

The US Senate confirmed Sally Jewell’s nomination as US Interior Secretary on Apr. 10, clearing the way for her to succeed Ken Salazar and lead the federal department during US President Barack Obama’s second term.

Obama applauded the Senate’s action in its 87-11 vote. “With her extensive business experience, including her background in the energy sector, along with her lifelong commitment to conservation, Sally is the right person for this important job,” he said.

“She made clear in her confirmation hearing that she intends to strike a balance between the dual roles of conserving and developing resources,” Senate Energy and Natural Resource Committee Chairman Ronald L. Wyden (D-Ore.) said following the vote.

“That’s exactly the right approach to take on the diverse issues facing [the US Department of the Interior], including safely developing natural gas, maximizing jobs and opportunities from recreation, and improving management of federal forests,” he continued.

A leading oil and gas industry association official also applauded Jewell’s confirmation. “Domestic oil and gas production supports millions of jobs and generates billions of dollars in government revenue every year, but we could do so much more with the right policies,” American Petroleum Institute Pres. Jack N. Gerard maintained.

Outlines issues

“Regulatory uncertainty, slow permitting, and restricted access to energy resources on federally controlled land all prevent the US from achieving its full energy potential,” Gerard said. “We look forward to working with Secretary Jewell with the hope of addressing these issues and helping the president follow through on his commitment to a true all-of-the-above energy approach.”

Jewell was chief executive of Recreational Equipment Inc., a Sumner, Wash., outdoor equipment manufacturer, when Obama selected her as his next Interior secretary on Feb. 6 (OGJ Online, Feb. 6, 2013). She began her professional career in 1978, however, as a Mobil Oil Corp. engineer in Colorado and Oklahoma.

Following her return to the Pacific Northwest, where she grew up, Jewell was active in several conservation groups. Environmental organizations also applauded her confirmation. “Now her work begins,” Natural Resources Defense Council Pres. Frances G. Beineke said.

“At the top of the list are critical issues such as safeguarding the Arctic Ocean from the dangers of offshore drilling, protecting America's public lands from destructive fossil fuel extraction practices, continuing to smartly develop renewable energy on public lands, and protecting endangered species such as the gray wolf,” Beineke said.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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