Secretary of the Interior oversees operation of the massive Department of the Interior, which manages most of the federal lands and natural resources in the United States.
In the past, Secretaries of the Interior have primarily been career politicians from the western United States. Jewell breaks that mold. She has never held an elected political position
Jewell brings a wide range of experience to the position, including work for the oil industry and as a conservationist. In general, her nomination has been applauded by observers on both sides of the aisle.
However, it is Jewell’s work in the outdoor retailer industry that has a number of San Juan County residents nervous.
Since 2005, Jewell has served as the Chief Executive Officer of REI, a large outdoor retail corporation with an estimated $2 in annual sales.
The Outdoors Industry Association recently wrote a letter to President Obama seeking the designation of 1.4 million of public land in the area as the Greater Canyonlands National Monument.
Support for the designation is gaining support in some quarters. Democrats in the Utah Senate and House of Representatives presented a joint resolution on February 5 to seek the creation of the proposed monument.
In addition, prior Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt outlined the proposal at the National Press Club on February 4.
The State of Utah, led by Governor Gary Hebert, has recently expanded its relationship with the outdoor retailers. A recently-announced initiative by Herbert is set to increase “access, conservation, tourism promotion and economic development.”