The secretary of the interior must strike a careful balance between resource development and protecting the country’s natural heritage, all while interest groups and interested pols bark from various sides. In tapping Sally Jewell, the chief executive of Recreational Equipment Inc., for the job, President Obama has someone who brings the right blend of skills and perspective.
Jewell knows the business side, and not just from leading the national outfitter for exploring and playing in the outdoors. She has worked in the oil and gas industry. She spent nearly two decades as a commercial banker. She understands that part of the mandate involves energy development.
Yet that hardly captures the whole effort, far from it. Long an avid outdoorswoman, Jewell knows how bound up our natural heritage is with the quality of our lives, whether climbing to the peak of Mount Rainier in the Pacific Northwest or hiking along a trail in the Cuyahoga Valley.
There is wealth of a different kind in preserving for future generations our natural heritage. John Seiberling knew well such enduring value, and the sense of responsibility required.
No doubt, senators will pose tough questions at the confirmation hearing, where Sally Jewell will have the opportunity to share her thinking about how the careful balance should be struck.