Our take on Sally Jewell's nomination as Secretary of the Interior

With the announcement of REI CEO Sally Jewell to be the next Secretary of the Interior, many people are asking, “What does this mean for conservation?”  

By nominating Jewell to head the agency that manages our public estate, the Obama administration is reaffirming that we don’t have to choose between the economy and the environment. 

As CEO of a company that depends on outdoor recreation, Jewell intimately understands how critical it is to protect America’s lands and waters. According to a recent report from Outdoor Industry Association, outdoor recreation is responsible for 6.1 million jobs across the country and contributions $646 billion a year to the U.S. economy.

“Sally Jewell’s nomination comes at a critical moment, as we work to balance energy development and conservation to protect our wildest public lands.  We look forward to working with her to strike that balance, and to protect the wild places that belong to the American people,” said Wilderness Society President Jamie Williams. 

President Obama said Jewell knows the link between conservation and good jobs.

"She knows that there's no contradiction to being good stewards of the land and our economic progress, that in fact those two things need to go hand-in-hand.  She's shown a company with more than $1 billion in sales can do the right thing for our planet."

Specifically, we hope Jewell works with President Obama to:

  • Designate new national monuments in New Mexico, California, Washington and beyond
  • Create new national wildlife refuges, like the Maine High Peaks National Wildlife Refuge, and others that serve as critical animal habitat across the United States
  • Guide energy development away from sensitive public lands and to appropriate places through smart policy
  • Urge Congress to reintroduce and pass wilderness bills that stalled during the 112th Congress
  • Recommend to Congress to designate wilderness the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

Jewell's nomination comes after Salazar's recent announcement that he would retire in March. 

We look forward to working with her to protect the lands and waters that belong to all Americans.