FEBRUARY 7, 2012 — In what National Ocean Industries Association President Randall Luthi yesterday called "a bit of a surprise," President Barack Obama yesterday announced that he has chosen Sally Jewell to be the next Secretary of the Interior.
For the past eight years, Ms. Jewell has been the CEO of Recreational Equipment Inc., commonly known as REI, a privately held retail corporation organized as a consumers' cooperative, selling outdoor recreation gear, sporting goods, and clothes via some 125 retail stores, catalogs, and online.
Prior to joining REI, she spent 19 years in the commercial banking industry.
She graduated from the University of Washington in 1978 with a degree in Mechanical Engineering and began her professional career working as an engineer for Mobil Oil Corporation in Oklahoma and Colorado. She graduated from the University of Washington in 1978 with a degree in Mechanical Engineering.
She is the recipient of a number of awards , including the 2009 Rachel Carson Award for Environmental Conservation from the Audubon Society; the 2008 Non-Profit Director of the Year award from the National Association of Corporate Directors, and The Green Globe – Environmental Catalyst Award from King County, Washington
She was described yesterday by President Obama as "an expert on the energy and climate issues that are going to shape our future," who "knows the link between conservation and good jobs."
"She knows that there's no contradiction between being good stewards of the land and our economic progress; that in fact, those two things need to go hand in hand," said the President. "She has shown that a company with more than $1 billion in sales can do the right thing for our planet."
NOIA President Luthi said that Ms. Jewell's nomination "will likely be met with a cautious wait-and-see approach by the offshore energy industry."
"We look forward to hearing about her energy vision for America during the confirmation process," he said. "We hope that her business and engineering experience will lead her to recognize the critical importance of our Nation's offshore energy resources. NOIA's members stand ready to work with her in promoting additional access to oil, natural gas, wind, wave and current energy resources on the outer continental shelf and the benefits safe development of these resources bring, including increased jobs, energy security and energy reliability."
Congratulating Ms. Jewell on her selection, API CEO Jack Gerard noted that the Department of the Interior is "key to the future of American energy policy."
"We look forward to learning how Sally Jewell's business background and experience in the oil and natural gas industry will shape her approach to the game-changing prospects before us in energy development," said Mr. Gerard. "President Obama campaigned on implementing a true 'all of the above' energy plan for America. This opportunity could create millions of new jobs here at home and generate hundreds of billions of dollars to the federal government at a time we need it most."
"Eighty-three percent of the land and offshore areas controlled by the federal government are still off-limits to oil and natural gas development," continued Mr. Gerard. "Increasing access to America's vast energy resources should be a top priority for the next Interior Secretary. America's energy revolution in oil and natural gas could make the U.S. a global energy superpower."