Sally Jewell Chosen To Be Secretary of Interior By President Obama (update)
By Ken Cole On February 6, 2013 · 158 Comments · In Department of Interior
The CEO of REI Sally Jewell has been chosen by President Obama to be the Secretary of Interior.
Sally Jewell Picked To Be Interior Secretary By Obama.
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Update 2-8-2013 by RM. Initial reaction looks quite favorable from all sides . . . very important because a nominee today needs to be filibuster-proof. Sally Jewell’s Interior Department Nomination Draws Praise From Range Of Groups. Huffington Post.
Ken Cole is a 5th generation Idahoan, an avid fly fisherman, wildlife enthusiast, and photographer. He is the interim Idaho Director for Western Watersheds Project. We do not accept unsolicited “guest” authors or advertising.
158 Responses to Sally Jewell Chosen To Be Secretary of Interior By President Obama (update)
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Are there red flags that she’s connected to the oil and banking industries? The GOP may approve. *covers eyes*
With that background, she should sail through the confirmation process.
Plus, Obama gets “points” because she’s a woman.
*covers eyes* as well.
Holy Shit….another fox in the hen house? Obama never ceases to amaze me (sarcasm intended).
Terrible – the ATV’ers and snowmobilers must be cheering also. Woooo-hooo! What does she know about ranching, hunting, wildlife conservation, forestry and logging, public lands? I don’t think he’s the most ecologically aware President we’ve ever had. It’s all about how it can be used by people now, not valued in its own right as was the original intent of our natural parks and protected areas and wildlife. The DOI with a few exceptions is never treated like an important post. 🙁
You have to be kidding me.
Folks need to wait and see. Her most recent job was head of Recreational Equipment Inc.(REI), not in bank or the oil industry, where she is said to have been an engineer, not in management where the worst people work.
I have always thought of REI as a good outfit and have bought thousands of dollars of outdoor equipment there. They are not some Cabellas; just the opposite.
I hope you are right, Ralph. Based on the environmental record of this president (or lack thereof), I would be reluctant to trust his appointments for any position dealing with land/resource use (that is unless he appointed you).
yeah, but they sell off road bikes, and if some info is correct, off road bicycles may be the next thing in the park systems,, i can’t think of any thing worse, bunch of trail bikers on the trails in yellowstone,,
Doing a search on her.
Seattle Times, 2005.
A profile of REI’s Sally Jewell: Team player at her peak
By Monica Soto Ouchi. Seattle Times retail reporter. http://tinyurl.com/bkgobaf
From a sustainable business blog. REI’s active, activist CEO. http://www.marcgunther.com/reis-active-activist-ceo/
Executive of the Year 2006, CEO Sally Jewell. Puget Sound Business Journal. http://tinyurl.com/amahcjh
About REI in the Wikipedia.
From Wikipedia. “Jewell has sat on the boards of Premera, the National Parks Conservation Association as well as the University of Washington Board of Regents, and helped to found Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust.”
Right off the bat, minus scandal, she appears likely to appease all factions and maybe pick off five Republicans so to beat the inevitable filibuster. Perhaps some of them will salivate when they read the words “oil” and “banking.”
Ralph, I agree to cautiously wait and see. Over 100 outdoor businesses wrote a letter to Obama to push for a greater canyonlands http://www.delalbright.com/Access/Canyonlands%20letter.pdf
And although REI didn’t sign (would have been better to have the CEO of Patagonia instead of Jewell), she is part of that crowd. REI does not make money from the snowmobile/ATV crowd. REI has been a western and far west business and is just beginning to move into the east. Just this year they opened an REI in NYC which surprised me. As you say, they are the complete opposite of Cabelas, where I never can find any camping equipment that is quality or lightweight.
Not impressed but, in fact, quite disappointed.
Sounds intreaguing that Obama would nominate a business person for the job. I would like to know her position on hunting as a conservation tool and trophy hunting in general.
Sally Jewell brings a balance that Obama was looking for. She has a solid business background, she is very much an outdoors person, she has the analytical skills of an mechanical engineer (her academic training), she is very easy going and a heck of a communicator, and importantly she understands the concept of environmental sustainability. She doesn’t get flustered easily (compare to Hillary) and I doubt she will be pushed around by big money R’s or radical environmentalist D’s.
Not a person I would have guessed as his pick, but nonetheless a pretty good one. What happened to Gregoire?
“She comes unencumbered by experience” in the political arena, one veteran enviro noted.
You need to be more than an “outdoorsy type” for this job, I’m afraid. That’s what it looks like, a superficial understanding of what is needed.
How do you balance this idea of wanting to protect the outdoors while encouraging people to get out there and buy more stuff?
Good question. ‘Last Child in the Wilderness’ is interesting, tho.
++nd I doubt she will be pushed around by big money R’s or radical environmentalist D’s.++
We’ve got to stop with the false equivalencies on this site.
There’s not some “magical middle” to everything–especially when it comes to science.
Ever the cynic, I wonder if Obama considered it more important to find a woman or minority for this crucial post , above other criteria ? Been a lot of press on that genderfication ( or lack of) of the second term Obama Cabinet.
The representatives from the Western stockgrowers and extractive industries who engage the Dept. of Interior are formidable. I hope Sally Jewell has a lot of titanium in her bones and a kevlar and teflon exterior. The confirmation hearings should be intresting.
It’s hard for me to believe that Obama picked someone from Gregoire’s own backyard when she supposedly was being strongly considered for the post unless he already has something else in mind for her.
I bet the EPA. 🙁 I’m just so tired of ‘waiting and seeing’ with this Administration.
It seems to me that maybe another slot (EPA) is being held for Gregoire. “Coal Port” Christine would be awful, but then too perhaps she has been rejected for views or other facts found in what has no doubt been an investigation into her background.
You all are bat shit crazy. This is a great choice for us (WM and Ralph have it right). For the first time in how long we actually have someone who believes public lands are for something other than rape and pillage? She is going to be outstanding.
I hope you are correct. But what to you base your opinion on?
How do you figure that? She seems better suited for a position in the HHS than the DOI.
I ask,too,jdubya,what do you base your opinion on?
On a number of things. First, the obvious, she is from an industry that makes good money via recreational use of lands, not just drilling, mining or grazing. She is as close to Pete Metcalf as one could hope. Two, she has been very proactive in conservation causes. On of those is this project that she helped found
Third, I know from first had accounts how she is very involved in outdoor education programs. She has a terrific track record at REI for gender equality at the workplace, etc. etc.
Her only downside is that she is an outsider to the political scene where appointing a current senator/rep or someone already in Interior would be in the loop. But those guys usually come with the same stale ideas. I welcome a refreshing new breeze from the West.
Thank you for your reply,jdubya.
“She received the 2009 Rachel Carson Award for environmental conservation from the Audubon Society; the 2008 Nonprofit Director of the Year award from the National Association of Corporate Directors, and The Green Globe — Environmental Catalyst Award from King County, Wash., among others. ”
Nice write up..
If all the above ‘green tinted’ accolades of Sally Jewell’s career are true, the GOP is going to jump down her throat at the confirmation hearings. She will be tested.
The problem is, this Administration is full of rookies, and we can expect another four years of inertia – which is my greatest fear. Meanwhile, our public lands and wildlife are in danger from lack of knowledge and experience. People who use the lands for recreation may be only slightly better than anyone else who have a need for the land. Adding more trails, more access to protected areas, killing it with kindness so to speak.
I hope she treats the ranchers tehsame as the environmentalist. She seems very good she respects the outdoors I hope that includes the wild life.
I worry because recreation and usage by humans is only one small part of the DOI pie. We need someone who can speak the language of ranching, without being owned by them. We need someone who knows and cares about the West and its lands, someone who doesn’t see it in terms of how it can benefit people only, someone who cares about the unique wildlife and features of the landscape and wants to preserve them for their own sake. Someone who won’t sell it out from under us for fossil fuels.
Ida your correct but but would like to add not being sold out to ranchers for their cattle.I just heard the rent per acre will be even lessthan it is now is this true ?
I thought it stayed the same? I might be wrong about that.
It’s not “rent per acre” it’s the fee to graze a cow and a calf for a month, or 800 pounds of grass, flowers etc. and it is called an Animal Unit Month or AUM. The fee is the same as it was in 1978 when the formula was first implemented. It is $1.35 per month, less than it costs to feed a gerbil.
She is an unknown when it comes to wildlife. We will just have to wait & see. Let’s look on the bright side. At least she is not a rancher or hunter. I am prejudiced, but I hear that she is a WW kayaker. I used to be one & most of them love rivers & are fierce defenders of our wild places.
I cannot find any record on wolves, but Ann Sydow of NIWA informs me that REI Seattle had a pro-wolf program. Tenuous, but hopeful.
The Wilderness Society, NRDC & Sierra Club have all come out with positive statements on the nomination.
Oregon Wild is cautiously optimistic:
Through her work at REI, she also understands the value of our public lands as a place for every American to enjoy, and how that recreation helps drive more than $600 billion in consumer spending every year.
My thoughts exactly. I don’t get how obtaining a permanent job in any federal resource management agency requires an advanced science-based degree and years of experience, yet the appointee we get to run the whole show is someone whose experience (other than working for an oil company) is essentially in retail management and commercial banking (20 years).
It seems a bit to easy for her to advocate for conservation when she works for REI. That’s not courageous. It’s part of her job and what’s expected.
Keep in mind that she DID work for the oil industry, and Obama hasn’t really been better than Bush on that issue. I trust her to remain true to her “progressive” image about as much as I believe Obama’s progressive talk.
Additionally, after leaving the oil industry, she WORKED AS A COMMERCIAL BANKER. FOR 20 YEARS!!! What’s the common thread? What I see is a chameleon with a series of power, prestige, and money-seeking jobs. In other words, another politician with a serious ego.
I’ll admit I don’t know much about her, but I’m not terribly impressed with what I’m reading about her or her qualifications. We shouldn’t let the granola crunch green-washing fool us.
We shouldn’t let the granola crunch green-washing fool us.
every american involves possibly opening up wilderness areas to trail biking an other activities that Rei trades goods in, careful about that kind of thought,
Seems like a good choice to me based on what I read about her just now. We’ll wait and see I guess.
I’m offended by the choice – he’s been criticized for not having enough women, so he’s nominated one. Equality means the right person for the job, regardless of gender.
For those of you who write off anyone who has any attachment to management of a company:
REI is a cooperative that is essentially owned by the members. There are 13 directors on the board, and candidates for CEO are nominated from within that group. Ballots are mailed out to the membership, and any candidate has to receive 50% of the vote. The REI CEO makes about $1 million/year.
I can tell you from personal experience that dealing with REI is unlike dealing with most other retailers. I do not believe that someone who is driven by pure ambition would choose to spend 13 years there. She’s there for reasons other than just advancing her own career. Part of the foundation built around REI is based on a strong sense of corporate social responsibility with an emphasis on conservation. A lot of their employees rally around those values.
It’s noteworthy that she left Washington Mutual before the freight train of excess lending was going at full speed. She can’t be judged from her time at regional banks, either; their business practices are completely different than the big names you know so well.
We’ll see if she has what it takes to stand up to the opposition. It’s really too early to make a judgement call…..
Thanks, DLB for being a voice of reason. In many ways, Obama is parting ways with tradition with this appointment. Typically, Interior heads are prominent politicians from Western states. Appointing someone from outside of the political elite could be advantageous for the management of our public lands (no connections to the ‘usual suspects’).
Also, she has a ringing endorsement from the Sierra Club and is a former winner of the Audubon Society’s Rachael Carson Award–so she’s hardly the big oil and banking insider, as some of the comments above suggest.
Typically, Interior heads are prominent politicians from Western states.
And there’s a good reason for that. The DOI secretary has to understand and work with the people there. A couple of environmental awards does not a DOI secretary make. Retailing success is a little frightening when it comes to our wildlife, natural resources and public lands. There’s way more to do than just sell recreation equipment.
Don’t you realize how unfair the statement you just made was?
++A couple of environmental awards does not a DOI secretary make. Retailing success is a little frightening when it comes to our wildlife, natural resources and public lands. There’s way more to do than just sell recreation equipment.++
So you’re making the statement that you believe that any bureaucrat MUST be a former politician, PERIOD. Am I correct?
Do you really believe that a politician’s motivations are so much more pure than a businesswoman’s?
Why don’t you just make an honest statement and admit that you were going to criticize any candidate who was nominated (and had a chance) other than Raul Grijalva.
I am told that posts such as the Interior and Commerce are usually ‘patronage’ positions – payoffs for political contributions.
A CEO of a retail company is going to see the world differently and will have been trained differently than an environmentalist or scientist. Just ask the former Rocky Mountain Elk Association.
To be honest with you, I never thought Raul Grijalva had a snowball’s chance, but he would have been ideal. My standard is Bruce Babbitt. I want someone whose focus is, has been and will be the environment.
“The DOI secretary has to understand and work with the people there.”
True. Now ask yourself which people [interest groups] have political power in western states, and whether you would actually like to see someone who has worked with these people (i.e., is beholden to those interests) in a position of power?
Is it any better to appoint someone whose sole experience is working as an industry professional? For an administrative job?
Having worked WITH interest groups in an administrative/political capacity doesn’t ALWAYS make a person necessarily beholden to those interest groups. If it did, it wouldn’t matter who got appointed, would it? As soon as they got into office, they’d become instantly beholden and corrupt.
The political reality of working in these agencies is rubbing elbows with both environmentalists and extractive industries. So would a politician appointee from some lefty Western enclave be equally tainted and captured by rubbing elbows with environmental organizations?
Someone with government experience in natural resource politics (captured or not) is still more qualified than someone coming directly from private industry itself. Better to have worked with rather than worked for. Obviously this is a fantasy, but I’d rather see a reanimated Frank Church appointed over the CEO of Patagonia.
You and I pretty much agree on the importance of training, issue knowledge and experience in the trenches in some capacity as pre-requisites for a Interior Secretary, to really understand and address what is a full range of problems that span the Department.
It may be Obama’s advisors just said, “It’s an image. You need to trade in the cowboy hat for a fleece vest and a pair of birkenstocks. And, we’ll make up the rest as we go along. We need to stay on task and keep this economy moving, even at a slow pace.”
Maybe this go round, the substance really isn’t as important.
Listening, nodding, following the script and not pissing off too many people along the way might be the order of the day.
It’s absolutely an image thing. I think the substance of this position is important, but this is obviously a pretty cynical and politically motivated move by a president who doesn’t seem to care much for the substance of environmental issues. Maybe it’s what should be expected from him, especially considering the economic zeitgeist.
Even so, I’d like to see someone more qualified get appointed. Even if they’re told to not make waves. They’re still going to end up unloved by many by virtue of the position.
And oil and banking industry experience or not, there’s still going to be a circus at the confirmation hearing (maybe even a filibuster?). I hate to put on my tinfoil hat, but is this just more hollow progressive grandstanding that will never get congressional approval?
++Someone with government experience in natural resource politics (captured or not) is still more qualified than someone coming directly from private industry itself.++
I don’t know that I agree with that statement. On some level it boils down to the person you’re talking about. Management level individuals can switch industries several times during a career and still perform their duties succesfully. Lawyers & executives seamlessly transition into politics all the time without missing a beat.
what we’re talking about here is a manager who gets some level of direction from the executure office. It doesn’t take a scientist, a politician, or some other government employee to perform that job successfully, IMO. Having a thoughtful, dynamic personality combined with a passion for the issues your position relates to can be enough. At worst, her learning curve is extended a few months.
We shouldn’t create criteria that eliminates high level talent from consideration unless it’s absolutely necessary.
I’m not saying that Jewell will be great, I’m just making the argument that a person with her background has the potential to be more than adequate as secretary of interior.
And I’d disagree that all management experience is fungible when we’re talking about land management. Herman Cain may be good at running a business and dealing with people in the corporate environment, but selling pizza isn’t the same thing as dealing with the social, economic, scientific, and legal issues the Secretary of the Interior will have to work with. As recent events demonstrate, selling pizza isn’t the same thing as running for political office either. At least lawyers and legislators both have the common core of experience that requires understanding legal and policy considerations.
I’m not creating criteria to exclude “high level talent” (whatever that means). I’m just saying there are more experienced and qualified people for the job. She may do an adequate job, but she’s unproven in both politics and land management. So why resort to someone with potential and only very indirect experience when there are many others with “soft” (managerial) skills and more relevant experience?
I keep asking where is Chris Gregoire (now apparently out of the running for DOI Secretary). She still has a shot at EPA, Transportation and Energy.
She would do well in any of those 3, though DOI would have been right up her alley. Jewell would not fit the bill for the other three, and marginally for DOI, but still a pretty good choice IMHO, despite the experience in the trenches, etc. She is a quick study, as I expect will become evident in her Senate Confirmation Hearing.
Sometimes talent trumps experience.
It’s just riskier to make that move because it’s also a matter of who is interpreting the talent.
When I read through a stack of resumes and pick a favorite based on work experience, that candidate doesn’t always remain my favorite after the interviews are over.
Again, I’m not saying she’ll do a great job, I’m just defending the priciple of nominating someone with her background.
“Is it any better to appoint someone whose sole experience is working as an industry professional? For an administrative job?”
Dude: You and I have a different definition of what an “administrative job” is. CEOs fundamentally are engaged in the same types of tasks (i.e., managing people, leading, making tough decisions) as agency administrators. The job description is largely the same; the primary difference is who one works for (in one case you work for stockholders, in the other you work for citizens).
While I agree that having government experience in natural resources politics is beneficial, I disagree that it makes someone “more qualified” it certainly COULD make them more captured (though not necessarily), especially when they come directly from an elected position, where they learn to bend the knee to those donors with the most dollars.
Uhg…apologies for the run-on. Not easy to be articulate while you’re holding an infant and attempting to entertain a 4 year old.
I agree that being subject to election does raise the probability that someone could be more captured. However, leaving an elected position for an appointed one could also free the appointee from those chains.
And you’re right that some of the management skillset from private industry could transfer over to government positions (obviously a person needs to be able to communicate effectively in both positions, for example). But I do think that a job like working for REI (where you’re supporting issues in line with your corporate culture and your somewhat homogenous customer base) is a lot different than having to work with both the Sierra Club and extractive industries. Selling ideas to people who already are inclined to agree with you is a lot different than refereeing between competing demands for the same public resource.
Sometimes talent does trump experience. But I just think there are probably equally talented folks out there with more relevant experience. And I’m rather cynical about the political/image reasons behind this choice. I’m not saying she couldn’t do the job, I’m saying there are a lot of people out there who could, possibly better.
And regarding “top-level talent,” nothing succeeds like success. I’ve noticed in working for the government that there seems to be a bit of a glass ceiling where a person can’t get exposure to the relevant experience that would qualify them to move up the ladder. And I’ve seen more qualified, talented, and passionate employees have to train their new supervisor. And those supervisors aren’t necessarily “top-level talent.” Quite the contrary. They just happened to go to the right school and rub elbows with the right people. The particular person I’m thinking of managed to alienate a lot of their co-workers and supervisors in a short period with their elitist attitude. So despite this person’s success in other tangentially related endeavors, I think they are going to make a poor public land manager and cause unnecessary friction with the public they’re going to have to interact with. This person is domineering, driven, and terrible, which is what has allowed this person to serve on the board of various non-profits and in other leadership roles. Being the loudest and bossiest person in the room isn’t talent for a job requiring finesse. But this person got the position despite their supervisor’s knowledge that they weren’t the best person for the job because his hands were tied, and the only way he could hire for this position was through jumping through political hoops. The supervisor even told me “it’s not like private industry where you can move up the ladder.” This prompted me to give up on the government and try my luck in private industry. Adios.
I guess the moral of this long, ranting anecdote is that hiring practices in private industry involve different considerations than hiring in government jobs. In government, ambition, image, and knowing the right people also can trump talent and experience.
People can certainly rise to the occasion, but only certain people are given the chance. In the government, these opportunities don’t necessarily have anything to do with talent.
Presuming you were talking about work-a-day types, instead appointees and deep breathers in your “long ranting anecdote,” subjectivity and back-scratching are alive and well in many parts of private industry (especially with large employers). Opportunity for advancement is not always a direct function of talent, aptitude and past success. The difference in private industry is that everyone, unless represented by a union/collective bargaining agreement, is an “employee at will.” That means you can get your ass fired for no reason. So, folks in private industry are sometimes a bunch quieter, and suffer in silence. Tougher for that too happen in government, unless there are budget cuts that justify RIF’s.
Of course, there are folks who work in government (a few who even likely post here, I suspect), who are the biggest whiners and moaners around, as they continue to get their cost of living increases for time in grade/benefits/pension contributions. And, they keep their heads low. They are tough to get rid of too, if they screw up or are non-producers. Just go in a federal government office sometime for proof. Not so much, in industry, from my experience.
That is why I have a problem with some of the sanctimonious positions taken by PEER. By the way, not a one of them has to worry about making a pay check at the end of the month, or projecting long-term profitability of a business, knowing they have a job five years from now. Humility on such things is good for building character and appreciating reality.
Last paragraph, “…making a PAYROLL…”
Thanks, Dude. I understand where you’re coming from. I like the idea of people ‘rising through the ranks’ as well, and I certainly can appreciate the idea that public sector employees are forced to negotiate complex trade-offs with diverse user groups. These are good points. But I also agree with Ralph. Historically, there have been a lot of white guys with cowboy hats picked to head Interior more because of party loyalty and where their from, than any innate ability.
WM: I agree with most of what you’ve written, but I think you’re overly-dismissive of the position many state and federal employees are in. I’ve known multiple folks who have been essentially blacklisted for a variety of reasons. They may not be fired, but they’re consistently passed up for promotion or given duties no one wants as a form of political retribution. That’s gotta be hard on the psyche.
I tend to agree with you about those who get blacklisted. In industry they are often gone in a heartbeat. In government, some of them occupy space blocking the path for those who would replace or by-pass them. All the while, they get paid for their suffering, and may drag down others with them. And, of course, if the public sees this suffering soul, the impressions I suggested from just walking into a federal office sometime is are all the more heightened, and the stories get retold. I tend to believe if there was a good house-cleaning in some government service jobs it might in the long run improve the reputation and serve as a call to service for some of our brightest. The problem, however, is who gets to decide who goes. So that sort of takes us back to the problem of how to accomplish it in a system with sooooo many protections, with little resemblance to the “employment at will” concept which has its own flaws. Who will tell the King wears no clothes?
“Who will tell the King HE wears no clothes?”
I would not call it a “ringing endorsement from the Sierra Club.” As I parse their press release, it sounds cautious but hopeful, an attitude I agree with.
I agree that REI is generally a good outfit. But I just don’t see her experience in oil, banking, and retail as qualifying her to head a land management agency. The fact that REI holds elections just proves she can get elected. So can Obama. So can Boehner.
I’d just rather see an appointee who has experience in doing a similar job where they actually have to balance the political, economic, and environmental interests. Because that’s what the job is going to be. It’s not simply a fungible management position. It’s a land management position.
I’d rather see some GS-9 or 11 with a career in land management (or even an academic) get appointed than someone who’s worked for Mobil and REI. Being in the middle of conflicts is a lot different than advocating for your side while you’re there.
++I’d just rather see an appointee who has experience in doing a similar job where they actually have to balance the political, economic, and environmental interests. Because that’s what the job is going to be. It’s not simply a fungible management position. It’s a land management position.++
I understand where you’re coming from, but tough negotiations are tough negotiations, no matter what the format. My job involves a lot of strategy & discussion; as well as balancing the interests of multiple parties. That experience has already paid dividends in completely unrelated areas.
Leaders from private industry do in fact have a number of political and economic interests that are paramount to the success of their business. Personnel decisons are often rife with politics, and making the right moves often requires good strategy. Navigating economic issues is also an important part of running a company; you’ll often find that executives need to interpret both micro and macro-economic influences.
A well qualified invidual from a land management background should have a leg up on the competition, but not having those qualifications shouldn’t be a limiting factor.
I hope when it comes to wolves and bears on the endangered species list Obama backs her up that is really where it stands,and the bull dogs in the Senate.
Here is the Sierra Club’s statement on her nomination:
They emphasize that they like what she has done in getting inner city children into the outdoors and being a founder of Outdoors Alliance for Kids. The rest of the brief statement is about critical issues she will face.
I expect the jokes over at BLM have already started.
Assuming Jewell is confirmed, and I expect she will be, there is only so much even a top level bureaucrat can do, even if she surrounds herself with some very competent and motivated assistants and issue specialists. She will, to some extent get her marching orders from the White House (and of course the D party).
Focus is likely to be heavy on energy development(middle of the road), National Parks (get some political mileage out of improving/expanding them if she can squeeze $$$ out of Congress). Make a little civil rights press, but not too much to piss off the R’s over at the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Fish and Wildlife, will probably stay on mission with a little tick upward, but don’t hold your breath for a change in increased wolf listing protection that will piss off the states (yeah, I know some of you will go ballistic over that prediction).
Over at BLM, I dare to say, it will probably be business as usual, except for maybe finding a solution for the wild horse thing.
Bureaucracies are tough to change, and I expect Western Watersheds will still have a full court docket challenging grazing leases and BLM policy. Hope I am wrong on that, but don’t be surprised.
And, in the end, Grijalva or any other DOI appointee could probably do no better.
Believe me we are not holding our breath for anything. Nearly dismissing out of hand is more like it. I’m sure there would be someone who has and could do much, much better – namely, Bruce Babbit. Richard Nixon did so much better.
I thought the National Park system and the Wilderness areas that exist were not created to be the National Playground. Maybe some of the wilderness areas should be totally closed to humans every other year or so. The Park system has many problems—just read the two posts below this on Ralph’s site.
A few words from the President of REI to its members:
“Through direct engagement in service projects on public lands, and grants that support organizations involved in connecting people to nature and stewardship, your co-op facilitated nearly three million hours of volunteer service in parks, recreation areas and natural spaces across the country. With the board’s support, the co-op dedicates 3% of our annual operating profits to these activities. In addition, we remain committed to enhancing the sustainability of our business, from understanding and reducing the environmental impact of products we manufacture, to reducing our energy consumption through projects such as the use of solar energy to power some of our stores. For more information, please visit the stewardship section of our website at: http://www.rei.com/stewardship
President and CEO
I’m wishing her the best.
REI stores do help get people out to do volunteer stewardship work. On days where their stores advertise projects I help with we have twice as many people show up. (Someone from the company also comes with “swag” – T-shirts and stuff – which I never accept.) They may not know a loosestrife from a liatris, but we teach them, and showing up is 90% of being a hero.
There are lots of companies who sponsor things like that. So what.
Does anyopne know her positions on land and animal conservation issues — including hunting?
Yawn. Lots of companies say things like this. How many times have we heard this sort of thing. I don’t care about what she’s done at REI. I care about the real issues.
I’m thinking most of us who post here, care about the “real issues” Ida but unfortunately those issues are badly scattered across a country that has far more “pressing issues” like the economy, jobs, health care.
Jewell, if nominated, is going to fill a position that most of the “got a lobbyist or ten (worth millions) in my back pocket” politicians, that could care less about what she does, unless it effects or re-directs the deposit$$, to THEIR issues 🙂
Everyone has lobbyists; that’s how the game is played. I realize our President has far more pressing issues for the majority of people, and that’s the story of the DOI – always an afterthought. I think her lack of experience will impede her. But I will be the first to admiti it if I am wrong. But I hope her REI shoes are ready to hit the ground running with all of the problems that she has to address.
Since it seems everything these days is about $$, her understanding that soft recreation is powerful and warrants land protections may be very beneficial. As I posted in the wrong place above, over 100 recreational businesses are pushing Obama to form a Greater Canyonlands, and although REI isn’t a signature to that letter, she may understand the need for these kinds of protections. Those are her working colleagues, businesses like Pretz and Black Diamond who did sign.
Here in Cody, the BLM and Shoshone forest are doing their 20 year plans. From all the meetings I’ve attended it’s obvious there is still very little understanding that the camping/ climbing/ industries bring in billions of dollars and basically are diametrically in opposition to loud and noxious sports like ATV’s. Those ATVer’s etc. seem to have ‘powerful lobbies’. Gov. Mead just sent a letter to the SNF supporting scaling back oil/gas on the forest, but supporting more atv roads. Can’t understand where that lobby gets its clout? Hoping Jewell might bring support to the people who like to watch wildlife, hike, and preserve what’s left. I say let’s wait and see.
I’m hoping the same thing.That Jewell will be more partial to wildlife watchers and conscious of the potential role that non consumptive uses might play. Perhaps if she has the requisite managerial skills and an interest in non consumptive uses of wild lands, national parks and wilderness then that interest might more easily expand toward less scorched earth policies for wildlife. I’d venture to guess that REI’s board of directors have not been filled with livestock or trophy hunting interests. Maybe someone without BLM, livestock and grazing contacts will be just as appalled as I am by learning that public grazing lands are given away, and that 1000 wolves have been killed just coming off the ESA, and the few wolves in other states are being threatened by delisting. The nomination is unfortunate because we knew Mr Gijvala’s background and his unusual and outspoken stance about wildlife but maybe in this instance the lack of history will be a bonus.
She isn’t wearing a cowboy hat!!!! That has to be a great change from what we have now.
I was a member of REI during my college years, but don’t know if that still makes me a member or not.
Her interest in the outdoors is a plus.
Larry, once a member always a member. They still have you on file, but probably not up to date.
Her background pleases me greatly in comparison to the usual Western politician who becomes Secretary of Interior and has deep ties to welfare ranching, and extractive interests.
I don’t know what she is really like, but a lot of people who have posted don’t seem to have any sense of history about the ugly crew of political hacks going back well over a hundred years who have become Secretary of Interior. There were one or two good exceptions, but not many. Dubya’s two secretaries of interior Gale Norton, an oil-company friendly Colorado AG and then Idaho’s governor, Dirk Kempthorne, one of Idaho’s friend of interests politicians Then came Ken Salazar, ugh!
Bill Clinton’s, Bruce Babbit, was a pretty good exception, but even he fired his BLM Director Jim Baca once the livestock interests complained, and Baca was the first in history who was really going to demand some actual change on the range from the corporate and other ranchers.
Hooray! You’re back up – I couldn’t access the blog today.
What worries me is that this appointment of Sally Jewell is such a departure from Ken Salazar – from one extreme to the other – I don’t want the livestock industry to balk and not cooperate like Congress is doing. Another four years of stalemate and very little accomplished. It is a reality that their needs have to be taken into consideration. She has to acquaint herself with so many things that may not be important to a lot of people, but are nevertheless extremely important. Abuse of wolves and wildlife, neglect of or Native Americans, logging and timber, forestry management. It is a little dismaying to think that all people associate with the DOI is energy and recrea tion! And the somewhat insulting association of ‘granola’. Before you know it, four years will have gone by and a new DOI appointee by a new Administration, and what will have been done? I know I’m getting ahead of myself but these are my concerns.
At least Bruce Babbit was more experienced in a lot of areas, and was there four eight years of continuity. The Interior Department seems to get little attention and isn’t important.
oops, make that eight years of continuity. The Interior Department gets little attention and isn’t considered an important one by our leaders. It doesn’t get the attention that Treasury, Defense, and State do, barely a blip.
Interior has little to do with forest management though they do “manage” some mostly located in western Oregon.
So what, you would be happier with a pro-ranching or pro-drilling or pro-logging Sec who would just have to learn the value of recreation or wildlife on the job? Screw that. We have had those guys time after time after time. Maybe try a new model with this appointment and those in the future.
I hope you are not disappointed.
ida I’m thinking if she can run a huge corporation like REI, has an engineering degree, and is as accomplished as she appears to be she can probably get up to speed quite quickly. She will have a team of advisors and policy aides to help. Perhaps because she is not now a part of the circle of politicians, ranchers, lobbysist she may not be as politically beholden to the cronies or as apt to be concerned about going overboard in some sycophantic accommodation policy. She will also be a “lame duck” Secretary and may have an interest in promoting some wise land use and wildlife policies before her term is up. I may be wrong but the outdoors people, hikers, skiiers, rafters, kayakers, I know are usually very conservation minded. Not out to decimate predators and not pushing for resource extraction in sensitive areas or destruction of wilderness. This is obviously a personal perception that has no basis in science but I’m hoping my analysis of anecdotal info is true! Hopefully she will be a breath of fresh air, at least for environmentalists.
To much perhaps, maybes, unknowns for me. I have been disappointed too many times, especially last term, to have any hope this time. What isn’t said speaks the wrong volumes to me.
She could be a refreshing change. Not a western politician and someone who at least climbs mountains and puts on a backpack.
I couldn’t get on either this morning for several hours.
“a lot of people who have posted don’t seem to have any sense of history about the ugly crew of political hacks going back well over a hundred years who have become Secretary of Interior.”
I think this is fair enough. And maybe we shouldn’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. I don’t really expect any Secretary of the Interior to side with conservation over resource extraction 100% of the time. But I still think there are better people for the job and am cynical about this choice. I don’t think we should let our partisan/tribal preferences get in the way of the better, either.
And maybe we shouldn’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.
There’s never a fear of that with anything concerning the Dept. of the Interior. Some of us are all to familiar with the bad old days, which is why we tend to reserve our praise until we see what someone can do. Right now, there’s a whole lot of nothing to go on.
And recreationists do not tread lightly on the land. With her business background beign touted so highly – it wouldn’t surprise me if there are plans to privatize the National Parks, or make them into something more profitable.
True, Interior has had a sad history of being a second rate appointment with a few exceptions. Again, reflects the attitude of DC..East?..that these lands really don’t matter much except in terms of wealth and greed. Reread Stegner’s Wilderness Letter the other day….made me angry and sad. BTW, Karin just got Foreman’s newer book on taking back conservation. I am looking forward to reading his take on what is needed in the preservation and conservation arena…
Yes. Just because she hikes, and ‘uses’ the outdoors, it really is only superficial. It is sad to me to see how little people really know about this important department’s function(s) – and how naive we are. This is why the environment is always on the short end of the stick.
Ida, I beg to differ here. Most people who ‘use’ the wilderness/outdoors/Parks, etc. never get out of their cars or the visitor center or the stodgy campgrounds. I would bet that many people here were introduced to their love of nature through real camping/backpacking or horsebackriding.
Basically, people only protect what they love and to love something you must know it in your blood. I think she might have a chance.
Millions of people trampling the parks isn’t treading lightly. I see this as just a PR campaign. I don’t know anything about her.
And maybe she’ll see that as a problem too. She’ll have plenty to negotiate about and i hope she doesn’t just go for the money making aspects of our public lands, parks, wildlife and wilderness… and I hope she has a clue about Native Americans and all the other issues her potential Dept. has authority over. But I’m not going to hold my breath either, I just hope for the moment now that Kennyboy is being sent back to ranch… where he’ll probably only stay a short time before launching or joining a lobbying firm.
Ida, have you ever gone backpacking? You don’t see millions of people out in the back country.
Come here to the Absarokas. I don’t even see one person on a day hike. Very few people hike anymore.
And the fact that few people even go into the wilderness is why few people care anymore.
Oh yes, my husband and I hike quite a lot, and get off the beaten path on our trips out West (he’s originally from Northern CA and lived in ID for a time), but these are sights I remember from visiting the parks. We did our own hiking too there too, and this large group was on foot as well. I can only imagine the crowds are even larger now.
I see this as a big problem too. When people do not experience the joy of being outdoors they have no idea what they are losing, when its threatened. The people that care are those that hike, kayak, raft, or ski. I don’t live in true wilderness like you do but we have some pretty amazing areas here too, national seashores etc and I experience the same privacy here when hiking. I almost never see anyone at certain places. Summer is different but I still know places to go to where I can mostly avoid people, I seek them out. People that know places of beauty and solitude want to protect them. I hope we are right and maybe the new Madam Secretary will too! Lets hope
I don’t do overnight hiking or camping, or haven’t. I haven’t been to the Absarokas but would love to. I remember going on a wildlife tour in Grand Teton, and although we had a wonderful time and met some nice people, we had 70-80 others with us.
I remember a car with NY license plates actually beeping a horn at a bison trying to cross the road in Yellowstone, people walking up to elk and taking photos, little children scrambling unsupervised at the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone.
While I think it is an important experience for people to keep in touch with the natural world, conservation needs to be a priority also.
And there you have the Yellowstone/Teton experience for a majority of those who visit from out of state or from anywhere except the rural West. Cell phone and wi-fi service the new requirements to add to the rest of civilized accomodations and services individuals and for profit tour groups require. Hell, lets just make Gardiner and the North Entrance into a little metropolis. They have already done that with sleepy little Moab, next to Canyonlands, and that one is truly a park without many services catering to mountain bikers and the serious four wheel drive crowd who are the only ones who can access its hot, and very dry interior most of the year.
I agree, WM –
Sorry we got into it a little bit the other day – Peace! 🙂
I found that in many places, if you just get out of the car and hike a few miles, you are pretty much alone, or with a very different group of people.
Nice thing about the GYE is we have grizzly bears. That keeps a lot of people out of the backcountry, but it also supplies a habitat mandate that is keeping the forest service from allowing more ATV’s in and creating roads.
I was thinking of what you wrote about most people never getting out of their cars yesterday. I was walking the length of the beach that, at some point from our house, intersects about a mile and a half down to a public beach that is deserted in the winter. and past that is a river with a parking lot. After we walked a couple of miles and came to the river, I watched a woman and her husband stop their car and let their dog out. They stayed in the car and the dog ran around outside for a few minutes and then they called him in and took off. Theirs was the only car I saw the whole trip but I thought about it for two reasons. My dog was looking at me like what was that, it was like he felt sorry for the dog…is that all he gets kind of look. But I was also annoyed because I am seeing that many people do this — bring their dogs down to a beautiful place, let them out and then do not pick up the waste. Its a big issue on the beach here. So then those of us who do pick up, end up carrying around extra shit or leaving it. Undesirable. Anyhow, my husband was telling me he sees that a lot of people sit in their cars at hiking areas when he goes to eat lunch or is in between a job. It got me to thinking about how strange it is to drive to a beautiful place, open the door for your animal and never get out to experience the walk. And you are right a couple of miles into somewhere and you are alone or the people you see are different. I can’t imagine not being out of doors at least a 2-3 hours a day.
As usual, Obama disappoints. Better than the usual politician who sees dollar signs when in sight of the public lands, but I dont’ see her changing much at all in terms of paying more attention to the conservation and preservation agenda that has been so lacking for decades.
++but I dont’ see her changing much at all in terms of paying more attention to the conservation and preservation agenda that has been so lacking for decades.++
Meaning that travesties such as the gutting of the ESA for wolves will continue;wilderness designations will continue to be zero; WSAs will continue to be under development pressure; ESA designations will proceed at a snail’s pace. This administration is about oil and gas, and some renewables. But the constant theme is exploitation.
You bet. What does being outdoorsy have to do with the DOI? It’s greenwash.
It was Montana’s Sen. Jon Tester who legislatively gutted the ESA for wolves–not DOI. Wilderness designations are also made by Congress…let’s at least be fair in whom we condemn.
If you think that Salazar, the White House, and the Western Dems were not part of the Tester gutting of the ESA protections for wolves, you are mistaken. This was a coordinated effort to placate the ranching and hunting powers in these states to keep Tester in his seat so the Dems could maintain a majority in Senate. From a realpolitik standpoint, I understand the strategy, but as a wildlife and lands environmentalist, I am disgusted by it.
As for wilderness, yes, legally, Congress is the entity that acts. But it takes a White House, the Secretary of the Interior and the Western Dems Delegation to actively support it. I don’t see her appointment changing the lack of that dynamic currently.
Sally Jewell and her associates, an interactive relationship map…
Obama is stupiding very low on this choice. You can kiss a lot good buy if this on gets the job.
WHAT A JOKE !!!!
“””Her company has intimately supported several special-interest groups and subsequently helped to advance their radical political agendas,” said Bishop, a Utah Republican who chairs a House subcommittee overseeing public lands. “While I certainly respect her business expertise, the president had other options who possessed extensive experience with public policy in the West and the impacts of so much federally owned land.”””
Ha, ha!! If Bishop has got his panties twisted up over Jewell, then she must be doing something right….
Bishop is a moron and a continuing embarrassment to the state and country.
” If Bishop has got his panties twisted up over Jewell, then she must be doing something right…”
I might not have put it that way but was thinking along those lines! she is a kayaker, cross country skier (I think thats what I read) and hiker. some evidence she likes to tread lightly on the land. Hopefully she abhors ATVs, snowmobiles and other land crunching, smashing, loud, wildlife and people terrorizing vehicles and would like to see some areas set aside that one must actually have to walk to in silence to get to enjoy the silence and peace.
Good one 😉
Not impressed. Dumb really.
NPR’s take: http://www.npr.org/blogs/itsallpolitics/2013/02/06/171303486/from-oil-fields-to-rei-interior-nominee-has-outdoorsy-cred
(Note: Information presented in this story may conflict with your ideology and so should be read with caution.) 😉
What does any of this have to do with the DOI?
Ida – I emailed the the REI website yesterday and “suggested” (in the “contact us” link on the site) that they might want to take a peek into The Wildlife News (just one of many sites out there, I’m sure) and pass on the site to Jewell.
I mentioned it was an interesting site, filled with news and opinions (good and bad) from all over the fricken globe, by those who care deeply (or not) about wild lands and wildlife issues.
So, indirectly or directly (depending how you look at appointments in Washington) these days:
“But she cannot remain a princess in a vacuum. She must be recognized and acknowledged. If she is not recognized, we return to the surface of things, and the princess is only a needy vagrant at the door, a water rat washed in from the storm. Will she be believed, without the external trappings? Will he recognize her?
But she swears she is a princess. Are we to believe her? She must pass a test, and it is our mother-self who cares for us and looks after our best interests who sets the task. Like Psyche fulfilling Aphrodite’s tasks, the princess must prove herself: She is insulated from experience by 20 plus 20 layers and yet she feels. Her sensitivity is more than a nod to nineteenth century conceptions of the weaker sex. The real princess feels experience intensely; even the smallest pea leaves her bruised. She cries.
And so she passes the test, for only a real princess can feel so directly despite all the layers of rationality, and social layers.
And the pea? That nugget of what is essential, but so often not perceived, or worse ignored, is sent off to the museum, or the bottom of the jewelry box with loveletters, ticket stubs, and other relics of memories we treasure 🙂
Great post. 🙂
“What does any of this have to do with the DOI?”
What? Are you actually asking what the NPR story that discusses the credibility of Obama’s nominee for DOI has to do with the DOI?
JB in the NPR story, ” She knows the link between conservation and good jobs. She knows that there’s no contradiction between being good stewards of the land and our economic progress — that, in fact, those two things need to go hand in hand.”
I hope she recognizes that link when it involves wildlife viewing as a money making activity. Especially when it comes to my, ooops, the wolves…
Oh for crying out loud, WM. Running a business and making payroll is not unique. There are millions of people who do it every day. There are lots of average Janes and Joes who work hard to protect wildlife and protect areas from development locally, and receive awards. It’s not enough for the SOI.
++Running a business and making payroll is not unique. There are millions of people who do it every day.++
There have been many businesses which haven’t. Excuse the candor here, but you if you think that is the case you must have had your eyes closed from about Sept. 11, 2000 until present. Do you have even a remote clue how many businesses have gone under during that time, how many private sector jobs and benefits have been lost, especially for those who are in the Boomer age group, how tax revenues have come up way short and even some governments have had to lay off people by the thousands? Yet there are some federal and state employees who haven’t missed a day of paid work. Out of courtesy to you I’ll just stop there. You don’t know what the Hades you are talking about, as usual.
Yes, I am aware of that. Snobbery will get you nowhere. I’m fed up now – we’ve had four years and if you think I’m going to get all excited because our President said a couple of sentences about climate change, you’re wrong. I think I’ll sign off with that, I’ve said more than enough on this topic.
Yes, you have.
Pardon my frankness, but placing someone in this cabinet post, man or women, who is not in bed with the cattle-oil ring, is long over-due! Good-buy, Cowboy Ken. We’ve got a real “Jewell” with this one. My hope is that she will be able to undo some of the Bush Era Cronies’ rape and pillage.
Not when her boss is lagging behind even George Bush in conservation.
I just hope she gets around this wildlife position,and maybe just maybe the courts could take back control and put wolves on Endagered Species list again before we are down to just a few.With most being slaughtered traped and shot to death.While some hunters take joy in hitting them in the gut to bleed to a slow death.
“”Every time gas prices go up, some demagogue will say it’s because we aren’t sucking enough oil out of our shared setting, when in fact there is no connection between the global price of oil and annual output from government leases. But Obama has been afraid to rally the larger conservation and recreational-user coalition because he fears the wrath of the fossil-fuel crowd.
In part, this is because those who value the prairies, canyons, mountains and grasslands of Interior for something other than extraction have been largely missing from the debate. They let buffoonish politicians from rural Western areas drone on about the need to put even more public lands under control of the oil industry. They allow corporate interests who are more at home on a Saudi golf course than in a slick-rock canyon in southern Utah to speak for the West.
Just recently, that has started to change. The outdoor recreational industry directly supports three times more jobs than the oil and gas sector. People who play in the American outdoors spend $646 billion a year, responsible for 6.1 million jobs.
Bruce Babbitt, one of the best Interior secretaries of the last 50 years, understood this historic shift but was able to convince his boss, Bill Clinton, of the power of the constituency only in the last years of his presidency.””
Well, perhaps I have been a bit too harsh. Let’s see what happens. The lack of attention and importance the DOI is given is very disappointing.
Some good news, a little offtopic maybe?
Interesting article on the growing divide between people in the Rockies wanting more renewables and the legislators. Jewell is mentioned here too.
In a nutshell Ida:
“The poll also showed that while 85 percent of Rocky Mountain residents engage in at least one outdoor recreational activity, 83 percent of parents worry that children don’t spend enough time outside”
All I can say is “thank goodness” my mother had the wisdom to kick me and my siblings outside (depending on the weather) often.
The woods surrounding my home in VA, while growing up, didn’t (and don’t) come close to the woods in wilderness areas still left in some parts of this country but it gave me a better appreciation of those areas, when I grew up 🙂
Yes, me too – we were always outside growing up, learning about plants and wildlife. No internet then. 🙂
A relatively detailed write-up on Jewell appeared yesterday in the Seattle Times.
Saw the article, which is penned by a couple of pretty good ST reporters. This statement troubled me:
++Jewell, who has mostly avoided controversy throughout her career, also will face the dueling demands of protecting public lands while tapping the wealth buried beneath.
That tension reared its head Thursday, when Alaska’s Sen. Lisa Murkowski called Jewell to say she would hold up the nomination unless the Interior Department approves a 20-mile road across the remote Izembek National Wildlife Refuge on Alaska’s Aleutian Peninsula.++
Looks like extortion to me, and she isn’t even confirmed yet.
“Neither of us felt bad about working for an oil company,” she told The New York Times. “In fact, I remember thinking how ironic it was when Greenpeace started using gasoline-powered boats to block oil tankers, or when people drove to protests against oil drilling, or when people who built wood houses and read books said no one should ever cut down trees.”
Not a very reassuring tone to this Seattle Times article, and a typical and disappointing false equivalency. Tapping the wealth buried beneath public lands? Aside from being insulting to those of us who really do care about the environment across the boards, mountain climbing experience alone doesn’t make someone qualified to head up the Interior Department, and it continues to highlight her banking and oil experience which are an anethema to conservation. It isn’t harmless either. Not a word about wildlife or conservation anywhere in sight. Looking more and more like business as usual.
True…but if I were in her shoes, I’d be silent on those also…just like a chess game looking ahead.
I don’t think a direct quote from her, setting up environmentalists as an adersary, is a good way to play chess.
Also, mountaineering and recreation are not benign activities to the environment either, whether it is damaging rockface or leaving trash and garbage around, or disturbing bird habitat. There’s still that ‘conquering’ aspect to it, to achieve a personal goal, and it’s more about the human themselves than the surroundings.
So far, nothing has been said about wildlife and their habitat, or protecting the environment for its own sake.
A furious Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski is thinking about putting a procedural hold on the nomination of Sally Jewell to replace Ken Salazar as secretary of the Department of the Interior.
Her possible move in the matter stems not from any objection she has to Jewell, who once contributed $500 to Murkowski’s election campaign. It is instead a response to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s preliminary decision to reject plans to build an emergencies-only road through the wetlands of the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge to the remote village of King Cove in the eastern Aleutian archipelago. Murkowski, who is the ranking Republican on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, made her complaints known in a 30-minute speech on the Senate floor Thursday.
What I thought was an astute article on the nominee – and a question I would like answered:
It stood out in a stream of reaction that has seemed, at least to my ear, unusually predictable, passionless, almost rote: Compliments and optimism from conservation and outdoor-recreation groups. Mild, scattered praise from the oil and gas sector. A few bleats from people who might prefer there be no Interior Department in the first place.
Is it correct to assume that while both degrade the landscape, ranching is marginally better because the effects can be reversed/repaired, and with oil and gas development the effects can not be, and result in permanent damage?