US energy industry, green groups both welcome Interior nominee
Houston (Platts)--6Feb2013/213 pm EST/1913 GMT
The oil and gas exploration-and-production industry and the
environmental community both reacted generally favorably toward President
Barack Obama's pick to name a recreational industry executive to succeed
outgoing Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.
Obama is expected to nominate Sally Jewell, CEO of outdoor equipment
retailer Recreational Equipment Inc., to lead the Department of Interior
Wednesday at 2 p.m. EST, a White House official told Platts.
If confirmed, Jewell, who began her career as an engineer for Mobil Oil
and worked for a commercial bank before taking the job at REI, will take
over the job at a time when the Interior Department is dealing with a raft of
issues that could have significant impacts on the E&P industry, including
charting the future of offshore energy exploration efforts and developing
regulations for hydraulic fracturing on federal lands, principally across the
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Tim Wigley, president of Western Energy Alliance praised the selection
of Jewell in a statement Wednesday.
"Her experience as a petroleum engineer and business leader will bring a
unique perspective to an office that is key to our nation's energy portfolio.
We hope to see a better balance of productive development on non-park,
non-wilderness public lands," he said.
"Oil and natural gas companies have achieved that balance in the West --
delivering 18% of American oil and 26% of natural gas production while
disturbing less than 0.07% of federal lands. We look forward to working with
the new secretary," Wigley said.
However, Barry Russell, president and CEO of the Independent Petroleum
Association of America, was more guarded in his opinion of the selection.
"While we do not personally or professionally know the president's
Interior secretary nominee, Sally Jewell, we will be anxious to learn more
during the confirmation process about her background in entrepreneurship,
finance and energy production," he said in a statement.
He added that IPAA, whose members drill 95% of US oil and gas wells,
would continue to "work closely with the Interior Department and its agencies
to ensure that federal lands are open for multiple uses -- from recreation to
safe energy production."
Saying he was not familiar with Jewell's background and views, Bruce
Hinchey, president of the Petroleum Association of Wyoming, expressed some
reservations about the selection.
"It's going to be interesting to see how things develop with the new
secretary," he said in an interview Wednesday.
Hinchey said the association had become accustomed to working with
Secretary Salazar, a former US senator from Colorado, who was well acquainted
with issues surrounding energy development in the Rocky Mountain West.
"Salazar comes from the West," Hinchey said. "We knew where he stood on
He added that Jewell's future tenure as Interior secretary represents an
unknown quality for the association. "We'll try to work with her anyway we
can," he said. "It's going to be interesting."
For their part, conservation groups roundly praised Jewell for her work
as an advocate for outdoor recreation and the environmental protection of
"Sally Jewell would make a great secretary of Interior. Her background
suggests that she would bring needed balance to energy development on public
lands," Chris Wood, president and CEO of Trout Unlimited said in a statement
"Her stewardship of REI demonstrates that she understands the interests
of anglers and hunters and would serve as an aggressive advocate within the
White House for protecting fish and game habitat and hunting and angling
opportunity," Wood said.
"She is a practical, no-nonsense leader who would bring a sense of
purpose to implementing the oil and gas reforms that have remained largely on
the shelf. She is a strong pick."
In a statement, Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune cited work
Jewell had done in introducing children to the wonders of the outdoors.
"There are few more outspoken or dedicated champions in the effort to
connect children with nature than Sally Jewell, who has provided critical
support to the Sierra Club Inner City Outings program and played an integral
role in founding the Outdoors Alliance for Kids," Brune said.
"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," he said.
Brune added that the Sierra Club hoped to work with Jewell in pursuit of
its environmental agenda "to preserve more of those benefits and more of our
natural heritage by designating new national monuments, protecting America's
Arctic from risky drilling, and keeping dirty and dangerous fracking out of
our public lands."
The Wilderness Society President Jamie Williams called Jewell "an
outstanding choice to serve as the next secretary of the Interior."
In a statement, Williams said Jewell "has been a tremendous leader for
conservation at every level, from her support for the Obama administration's
America's Great Outdoors program to her work on the Mountain to Sound
Greenway in Washington State."
He added that Jewells nomination "comes at a critical moment, as we work
to balance energy development and conservation to protect our wildest public
--Jim Magill, firstname.lastname@example.org
--Edited by Katharine Fraser, email@example.com