Energy & Environment

Outdoor gear and clothing CEO is Obama’s Interior pick

Outdoor gear and clothing CEO is Obama's Interior pick

President Barack Obama will announce the nomination Wednesday of Sally Jewell, who heads a recreational gear and outdoor clothing cooperative chain, to lead the nation’s Interior Department and oversee energy development on public lands, mining, national parks, Indian affairs and the care of endangered species.

Environmentalists are already praising Jewell, who presides over Recreational Equipment Inc. (REI), an outdoor retail cooperative that rakes in hundreds of millions of dollars in sales from its 10 million members.

The popular outdoor retailer requires patrons to purchase a membership fee to shop at REI before purchasing their “eco-conscience” clothing, gear, or other merchandise.

Jewell has a degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Washington and worked for Mobil Oil for three years after college before joining the banking industry as a petroleum engineer to judge oil deposits as collateral. She has been president of REI since 2005.

As secretary of the Interior Department, Jewell would oversee 71,000 employees and an annual operating budget of $20 billion. If confirmed by the Senate, Jewell would replace outgoing Secretary Ken Salazar.

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