Sally Jewell named to head US Department of Interior

US President Barack Obama (background) with Sally Jewell at the White House 6 February 2012

US President Barack Obama has nominated an outdoor recreation executive to lead the Department of the Interior.

Sally Jewell, chief executive of REI, is the first woman nominated to join Mr Obama's second-term cabinet, which has been criticised for lacking diversity.

The British-born businesswoman would replace outgoing Secretary Ken Salazar if confirmed by the Senate.

The 56-year-old emerged as the front-runner for the position in recent days, edging out better-known candidates.

Speaking at a White House ceremony on Wednesday, Mr Obama said Ms Jewell understood how to link conservation and commerce.

She was born in England before moving to Seattle as a child, becoming a US citizen.

'Hand in hand'

"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 and hand," Mr Obama said.

In addition to her experience as the head of REI and a supporter of conservation, Ms Jewell was also an oil field engineer.

Campaign finance records show she made a $5,000 (£3,190) contribution to Mr Obama's re-election effort.

The Department of the Interior oversees more than 500m acres (202m hectares) of national parks and other public lands.

It is responsible for 1bn acres offshore. The department manages energy, mining projects and recreation and provides services to 566 officially recognised Indian tribes.

In the last four years, 6m acres of public land were leased for oil and gas while 2.6m acres were permanently protected, the Bureau of Land Management said.

Former Washington Governor Chris Gregoire and former Colorado Governor Bill Ritter had been discussed as possible candidates for the post, correspondents say.

More on This Story

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More US & Canada stories


Features & Analysis

  • Woman in swimming pool Green stuff

    The element that makes a familiar smell when mixed with urine

  • Plane at Shannon airportShannon's call

    The airport that hosted a roll-call of presidents

  • Record playing on turntableVinyl destination

    The eight tribes of people who keep buying records

  • The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at RAAF Amberley airbase near Brisbane on 19 AprilIn pictures

    Fighter jets and screaming crowds for William and Kate

Elsewhere on the BBC

  • ITChild's play

    It's never been easier for small businesses to get their message out to the world


  • Tuna and avacadoThe Travel Show Watch

    Is Tokyo set to become the world's gourmet capital?

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.