President Barack Obama nominated
REI chief executive Sally Jewell to lead the Department of the Interior today.
It’s a Cabinet position with incredible influence over Alaska. And by virtually every account, the
pick surprised everyone.
Peter Granitz has reactions to the unexpected nominee from Washington.
Department of Interior oversees critical programs in Alaska … the Bureaus of Indian Affairs and
Land Management, the National Park Service … and the offices that promote and
regulate off-shore drilling.
In his announcement, Mr. Obama rattled off a long list of
accomplishments outgoing Secretary Ken Salazar has achieved, including opening
more land and water to energy production.And now the president turns to another
westerner, Sally Jewell, to continue on that path. She comes from the private
sector and the Seattle
<<I’m willing to
bet she will be the first Secretary of the Interior who frequently hikes
mailbox peak in her native Washington State, and who once spent a month
climbing mountains in Antarctica, which is just not something I’d think of
doing. It seems like it’d be cold, and I was born in Hawaii.>> (.23)………
Begich also appreciates that Jewell has been in the private sector. Before REI,
she worked in commercial banking, and out of college, in the oil fields of Oklahoma and Colorado
been active in elections, giving money to many candidates. She’s mostly donated
to Democrats, including a like two-hundred-fifty dollar contribution to Senator
Begich in his 2008 Senate run. She also gave five hundred dollars to Senator
Murkowski in 2009.
from her donor list is Congressman Don Young. He says he’s disappointed in the
pick because he does not think she has an understanding of public lands issues.
<<I do believe
her interests lie in recreational purposes and not multiple use of the
and gas industry is keeping relatively quiet. John Felmy is the chief economist
at the American Petroleum Institute. He says he welcomes a fresh start at
<<Well, we’ve had
some differences with Secretary Salazar. We’ve had some onshore leases that
have been pulled back. We’re disappointed in that because we think we have an
enormous amount of oil and gas that we can develop. We’d like to move forward
as fast as possible.>> (.14)
would not say whether API would intervene in the confirmation process … with an
ad campaign or publicly oppose the nomination.
environmental groups are excited about the pick. Cindy Shogan directs the
Alaska Wilderness League. She says Jewell’s hardest task will be fighting
against strong support for Arctic drilling.
<<If she wants to
make her mark, she’s going to have to make sure she has the support of the
delegation, or is willing to make decisions that will disappoint them.>>
no date set for the confirmation hearings. It could be as early as next week,
though that’s unlikely. After that, the Senate is on recess until the last week
In Washington, D.C.
– I’m Peter Granitz