President Barack Obama has nominated Sally Jewell, president and CEO of outdoor apparel provider REI, to replace Ken Salazar as Secretary of the Interior. Salazar announced last month that he would step down in March.
Jewell, whose business experience also includes stints in the oil industry and banking sector, understands the deep connections between sustainability and job creation, Obama said during a press conference announcing the nomination.
‘She helped turn a stalling outdoor retailer into one of America's most successful and environmentally conscious companies,’ he said, adding that REI utilizes 20% renewable energy to power its stores.
Salazar likewise praised the selection of Jewell as a ‘stellar’ decision, explaining that she is expected to continue the Obama administration's ‘all of the above’ energy agenda, which includes increasing domestic energy production using both renewable and nonrenewable sources.
Salazar's tenure included the authorization of 34 solar, wind and geothermal energy projects – totaling 10,400 MW – on public lands.
‘Today, the largest solar projects in the history of the world are coming up out of the deserts of the U.S.,’ he noted at the press conference.
Jewell's appointment now awaits confirmation by the U.S. Senate. At least two lawmakers with leadership positions on key committees that work closely with the Department of the Interior (DOI) have publicly applauded the nomination.
Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Ron Wyden, D-Ore., called Jewell an ‘inspired choice.’
‘Her experience leading a nearly $2 billion outdoor recreation company, combined with her years of work in the financial sector, puts her in a position to bring a new vision to the Interior Department,’ Wyden said in a statement.
Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., the Ranking Member of the Natural Resources Committee – which has jurisdiction over the DOI – expressed hope that Jewell will be confirmed.
‘Sally Jewell has combined her business acumen with her love of the outdoors to become one of America's top CEOs,’ Markey said in a statement. ‘She is proof positive that common sense, balanced conservation of our open spaces and natural resources can enrich communities, improve quality of life and create jobs.’