New Jewell in Obama's environment crown

IT’S the best of both worlds.
New Jewell in Obama's environment crown New Jewell in Obama's environment crown New Jewell in Obama's environment crown New Jewell in Obama's environment crown New Jewell in Obama's environment crown

Sally Jewell

Justin Niessner

That is what US President Barack Obama seems to be hoping for with his appointment of outdoor clothing group REI chief executive officer Sally Jewell to the position of secretary of the interior.

After all, the Department of the Interior plays a key role in US environmental management.

As Obama describes it, the secretary of the interior is in charge of overseeing millions of hectares of public land – including the likes of Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon.

“But the job also requires keeping an eye on America’s future and making smart decisions about how we create jobs and help businesses grow, and put ourselves on the path towards energy independence,” he said.

There has been a lot of interest in this appointment from both the environmental and the energy sectors.

After all, the energy sector had been feeling a bit unloved after the first four years of Obama’s rule.

Jewell, prior to running the outdoor clothing outfit, was a petroleum engineer, working in the oil fields of Oklahoma and Colorado.

She also worked in the banking sector before helping turn a stalling outdoor retailer into a successful, environmentally conscious company.

“Last year, REI donated almost $US4 million to protect trails and parks and 20 per cent of the electricity used in their stores comes from renewable sources,” Obama said.

So far the response from the energy sector to the appointment seems positive, with the Western Energy Alliance giving it cautious support.

“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,” alliance president Tim Wigley said.

“We hope to see a better balance of productive development on non-park, non-wilderness public land that enhances the wealth of America and creates jobs while protecting the environment.

“Oil and natural gas companies have achieved that balance in the west – delivering 18 per cent of American oil and 26 per cent of natural gas production while disturbing less than 0.07 per cent of federal lands.”

The environmental side is certainly on board with the appointment with Sierra Club executive director Michael Brune welcoming it.

“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 Clubber Inner City Outings program and played an integral role in founding the Outdoors Alliance for Kids,” he said.

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