Last week the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee voted on a strong bipartisan basis to advance President Obama’s nominee for Secretary of the Interior, Sally Jewell, an individual who truly understands the need to protect our public lands. As the former CEO of the outdoor recreation retail company REI, she has a unique appreciation for public lands and even worked to reduce REI’s carbon footprint by using renewable electricity sources and saving energy. She’s been nationally recognized for her efforts on conservation, and knows firsthand the economic value of protecting the public lands we use every day to go hiking, hunting, fishing, and camping. That’s why we need the full Senate to swiftly take up her nomination and confirm Sally Jewell, as our nation’s next Secretary of Interior.
During her confirmation hearing before the Committee, she put it best when she said,
“Our nation’s parks, forests, deserts, rivers and seashores, coupled with the places that tell the stories of our diverse history, struggle, triumph and tragedy, are the crown jewels of our nation. It is through the wisdom of many congresses and presidents that we protect and celebrate these assets, recognizing their deep and enduring value.”
Theodore Roosevelt was the first president to make major advances in preserving our land and wildlife, protecting an estimated 230 million acres of public land that went to creating national parks, monuments, bird reservations, national forests, and game preservations. President Obama has kept this tradition alive. In 2009, he signed into law historic legislation to protect public lands, setting aside million of acres of wilderness and rivers across the country, giving it the highest level of federal protection. His administration, with the leadership of cabinet officials like outgoing Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, made further progress by protecting one million acres around the Grand Canyon from new uranium mining, and creating several national monuments—including five on Monday, one of which was New Mexico’s Rio Grande del Norte, a 240,000 acre site featuring scenic waterways, stunning vistas, and hiking trails. President Obama has begun to establish his conservation legacy, and we need Sally Jewell in place as Interior Secretary to keep building that legacy.
Sally Jewell is well positioned to be a careful and responsible steward of our nation’s lands. As LCV President Gene Karpinski said when her nomination was announced last month, she’s the right choice to promote conservation and protect America’s national treasures.(Photograph by Burke Museum)