Obama to Nominate REI CEO as Secretary of Interior

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/54458860@N00/2530851069/">functoruser</a>/Flickr

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


According to numerous reports, President Obama will announce on Wednesday that he is nominating Recreational Equipment Incorporated CEO Sally Jewell to serve as the next Secretary of Interior. Jewell, as Washington State native, is certainly a nontraditional pick for a job typically given to Western politicos, and the selection is drawing interesting responses.

(Full disclosure—I’m an REI junkie. The flagship store in Seattle is basically my happy place. You can get many products that are made with recycled materials or made in the US, and you can return anything. OK, end of disclosure.)

Environmental groups issued excited press releases about the selection, noting that Jewell and REI have partnered with both Sierra Club and the National Wildlife Federation on programs to promote the outdoors. “Whether it’s been through her work to get more kids outside or her accomplishments in building a business that recognizes the passion Americans have to explore the outdoors, Sally Jewell has demonstrated that she knows just how important our wild places are to our national legacy and our economy,” Sierra Club executive director Michael Brune said in a press release.

But members of Congress from states heavily involved in energy development were much more cautious. “The livelihoods of Americans living and working in the West rely on maintaining a real balance between conservation and economic opportunity,” said Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska). “I look forward to hearing about the qualifications Ms. Jewell has that make her a suitable candidate to run such an important agency, and how she plans to restore balance to the Interior Department.”

Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah), chairman of the Public Lands and Environmental Regulation subcommittee of the Natural Resources Committee, said he has “reservations” about the Jewell appointment, including concerns that REI has “intimately supported several special interest groups and subsequently helped to advance their radical political agendas” (i.e., Sierra Club and NWF).

Before coming to REI, Jewell worked as an engineer for Mobil Oil and a banker. See Sarah van Schagen’s Grist profile of Jewell from 2007 for more.

DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate