Obama nominates REI head for Interior chief

WASHINGTON – President Obama announced yesterday he has nominated Sally Jewell, currently CEO of outdoor retailer REI Inc., to replace Ken Salazar as Secretary of the Interior.

“She is an expert on the energy and climate issues that are going to shape our future,” Obama said yesterday in a press conference. “She knows that there’s no contradiction between being good stewards of the land and our economic progress.”

Jewell has been with REI since joining as its COO in 2000. Prior to that, she was with Washington Mutual and also spent three years as an engineer for Mobil Oil.

“So even as Sally has spent the majority of her career outside of Washington — where, I might add, the majority of our interior is located — she is an expert on the energy and climate issues that are going to shape our future,” Obama said. “She is committed to building our nation-to-nation relationship with Indian Country. She knows the link between conservation and good jobs … She has shown that a company with more than $1 billion in sales can do the right thing for our planet.”

Obama also took the opportunity to thank Salazar for his service.

“Since being confirmed, Ken has cracked down on waste,” Obama said. “He's improved the management of the department to make it work better for the American people. He has ushered in a new era of conservation for our land, our water and our wildlife. He's established seven new national parks, 10 new national wildlife refuges. He has opened more public land and water for safe and responsible energy production, not just gas and oil but also wind and solar, creating thousands of new jobs and nearly doubling our use of renewable energy in this country. He has helped to forge what is probably the strongest working relationship with tribal leaders that the federal government has seen in modern times. And when the unexpected has happened — like the Gulf oil spill or Hurricane Sandy — he has been on the ground making sure that people get help right away and we deal with these challenges as professionally as possible.”

Jewell will now have to wade through the confirmation process.