By Brent Fewell
POTUS’ new cabinet pick for Department of Interior, Sally Jewel, strikes me as a fantastic choice! Some westerners trying to paint her as “radical” based on her support for environmental causes, including wilderness issues. But Jewel’s background as CEO and President of REI, former banker and Mobil Corp engineer hardly strike me as radical. Then again, my appointment to EPA was nearly torpedoed by some who viewed me as radical for my work in Yellowstone on the wolf-reintroduction project as a budding, wet-behind-the-ears wildlife biologist – despite my conservative creds. Had the time of my life on that project. And the fact that Jewel doesn’t come from government – the case for DOI’s top pick for the last 30 years – is also quite refreshing. I’m hearing from my sources that she is great at team- and concensus-building. I predict she sails (or kayaks) through confirmation – but surviving the bureaucracy remains to be seen. This could be a great choice that brings together the “Greens Hooks and Bullets” for advancing conservation.
(Update: Sally was Senate confirmed on April 10 by an overwhelming bipartisan vote 87-11 – wishing her all the best.)