Sally Jewell was nominated by President Obama to the post of Secretary of the Interior and faces questions from a panel of senators today in her confirmation hearing.
UPDATE 5: West Seattle's Sally Jewell sworn in as new Interior Secretary
UPDATE 10 am April 12
Justice Sandra Day O'Connor performed the duties as West Seattle's Sally Jewell was sworn in as the new Secretary of the Interior in a private ceremony at the United States Supreme Court in Washington D.C. She will meet with some of the employees of the department on Monday.
UPDATE 3pm April 10
Sally Jewell, whose background in the petroleum industry, banking and who in her role as the CEO of Seattle based REI gave her the bona fides as a supporter of the environment was approved today by the U.S. Senate, 87 to 11 to be the next Secretary of the Interior. Jewell, who has a home in West Seattle was supported strongly by both Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell. You can see some of Cantwell's remarks in the video clip. Jewell will resign as REI CEO. More details will be added shortly.
Here are some highlights of Cantwell’s remarks:
“Sally is the exact type of leadership we need at the Department of Interior,” Cantwell said on the Senate floor today. “Sally Jewell is the right person with the right balance to get that done. …she’s going to bring a very pragmatic can-do attitude to the Interior Department’s management and problem-solving effort. I know that science will be her compass and I know that she is not going to have an ideological bent. But she’s going to have a get it done mentality.”
UPDATE 12:38 pm April 10
The U.S. Senate has scheduled a vote on the confirmation of West Seattle's Sally Jewell for Secretaray of the Interior for 6 p.m. Eastern (3pm) tonight.
She is expected to be confirmed for the job.
UPDATE 8:51am March 21
Sally Jewell was voted favorably out of committee - 19 to 3 in a Senate "business meeting". The confirmation will now move to a full Senate vote.
You can watch the proceedings of the meeting online (and hear Senator Murkowski's comments on King Cove and the potential construction of road through a protected Alaskan area) here: http://www.energy.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/2013/3/to-consider-the-nom...
UPDATE 11am Mar. 7
Sally Jewell, faced an array of senators in her confirmation hearing for Secretary of the Interior in Washington D.C. this morning and got a generally positive reception. The West Seattle resident was nominated for the post by President Obama to replace the outgoing Ken Salazar, due to leave at the end of March.
Flanked by Washington sentators Patty Murray (D) and Maria Cantwell (D) who introduced her Jewell went on to answer questions ranging from her position on private use of public lands to her background in the oil industry, to her position with regard to health care and how REI has dealt with the Affordable Health Care act (Obamacare).
The questions from Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) came early in the forum and centered on her desire to push forward a road project in Alaska. Saying she had been "rattled to the core" over the blockage of the project that would create a single lane gravel road to the community of King Cove, Alaska and village of some 800 people in the Aleutian Islands, Murkowski said that this issue, "should never reach your desk," suggesting that Salazar should resolve it now. She called this a "prime example of federal overreach." The road has been blocked since it would potentially disturb a sensitive environment in a wildlife refuge.
Other senators quizzed Jewell on "Fracking", the petroleum industry practice of hydraulic injection of water, and chemicals into oil shale and other formations to extract the resulting oil. Jewell acknowledged her own early familiarity with this process as an engineer for Mobil Oil in the late 1970s. She was questioned on her thoughts regarding climate change and replied that she thought it was "undeniable" and would rely on the best science for decisions made should she be confirmed.
Some levity was introduced to the hearing when Senator Lamar Alexander (R- Tennessee) first noting her background in business saying she "Sounds like someone a Republican President would appoint," and then asked Jewell about University of Washington football.
"Are you familiar with the record of their football team?" Senator Alexander asked.
"Unfortunately I am sir," said Jewell.
"Is that your fault?" he asked. "Completely," she answered.
"I accept full responsibility and if confirmed I think the football team will do better."
The response drew laughter from the room.
A Facebook Page in support of her confirmation is here.
West Seattle resident, Sally Jewell CEO of REI who was chosen by President Obama as Secretary of the Interior Department, is facing the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee today in her confirmation hearing.
One senator has indicated she may put up a barrier to the confirmation however. Ranking senator, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) has said she might hold up the nomination to ensure approval of an Alaskan road to connect a remote Aleutian village to an all-weather airport used for medical evacuations. The road would need to pass through the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge, a sensitive environmental area. The project has been denied for more than 30 years by the Fish and Wildlife Service. They said last month that they would again deny a proposed land swap that would enable the road to be built.
Jewell, who brings a unique mix of qualifications to the job, has generally gotten the approval of environmental organizations. Her background includes work as a Field Production and Special Projects Engineer for Mobil Oil, a 19 year history in commercial banking with Rainier Bank, West One Bank, and Washington Mutual. She became CEO of REI in 2000 and became President in 2005. Her full work history can be seen here.
A webcast of the hearing can be seen here.
If you miss the live show an archived version will be made available shortly afterward.