Human Events Blog

Sally Jewell, the Obama nominee nobody is talking about

When you’re still trying to clear shrapnel from the Chuck Hagel SecDef disaster from your eyes, while simultaneously trying to enjoy the drone-strikes-good, wet-towel-bad contortions over at the John Brennan CIA Director hearings, it’s easy to lose track of the less controversial Obama nominees.  The Wall Street Journal on Thursday took a look at Sally Jewell, nominated to be Secretary of the Interior:

In naming Sally Jewell as Interior secretary, President Obama lauded the REI boss as a woman who “knows the link between conservation and good jobs.” Tell that to Kevin Lunny.

Mr. Lunny runs an 80-year-old California oyster business that had the bad luck decades ago of being enclosed in a federal park. On Monday, as Ms. Jewell polished her acceptance speech, a federal judge ordered the business evicted. Among the organizations working hardest to destroy the livelihood of Mr. Lunny and his 30 workers was the National Parks Conservation Association. Ms. Jewell is vice-chairman of its board.

Far from a creative choice, Ms. Jewell is just the newest addition to Mr. Obama’s second-term team of loyal ideologues. It is in fact Ms. Jewell’s (relatively unknown) history on the environmental fringe, and her liberal policy prescriptions, that surely made this an easy Obama call. The president knows he can rely on Ms. Jewell to do for the federal government exactly what she’s done at an activist level: Lock up land, target industries, kill traditional jobs.

Jewell is supposed to be above criticism because she’s a female business executive who once worked for an oil company.  But as the Journal notes, the company she became chief executive of, REI, “has been central to campaigns that have squelched thousands of jobs in the name of environmental purity.”

REI, for instance, actively supported the Clinton-era Roadless Area Conservation Rule, which in 2001 locked up a third of all national forests, dealing another blow to logging and mining. When former Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire in 2006 announced she’d fight the Bush administration’s effort to inject some flexibility into the rule, she held her press conference at REI’s headquarters, flanked by Ms. Jewell. “We develop them, we log them, we mine them—we lose those assets forever,” complained Ms. Jewell at the event. REI’s well-heeled clientele ultimately got 58 million acres of “pristine” walking trails; Western loggers got to tell their kids they no longer had a job.

REI’s bigger influence, however, has come from funneling money to radical groups via the Conservation Alliance, a foundation it created with Patagonia, The North Face and Kelty in 1989. Ms. Jewell was lauded by the group in 2010 for committing REI to giving more than $100,000 a year to this outfit.

The Conservation Alliance openly boasts of how many leases it halts, and how much land it seals off from development.  Part of her appeal to Obama is her support for the kind of carbon taxes that would destroy our already-fragile economy, in the name of the bizarre “climate change” religion.

Jewell scored one of those sweet ObamaCare waivers for REI, as reported by the Washington Examiner.  A company spokesman clarified to the Examiner that it was a waiver for their “mini-med” plan to cover part-time, temporary, and seasonal employees “without disrupting their access to health care benefits until 2014, which is when plans with annual limits can no longer be offered.”  ObamaCare: a machine that consists entirely of patches, quick fixes, temporary repairs, and blown fuses.  Who knew that losing your freedom would be so complicated?

Jewell might not be the worst choice Obama could have made; her predecessor, Ken Salazar, did plenty of damage to the American economy by shutting down the kind of development that works, while handing over federal land to Obama’s green-energy bankruptcy machines.  It’s Barack Obama’s ideology that is “transforming” America, and he’s not about to name an Interior Secretary who disagrees substantially with it.  And as mentioned previously, he’s made far worse picks for his second Administration.

But if this was a Republican President assembling his Cabinet, we wouldn’t hear a lot of soothing noises about how “elections have consequences,” or demands for Democrats to pipe down and wave through the less absurd nominees without comment.  Democrats would assert their right to speak up against every Republican appointee, particularly when this provided an opportunity to highlight their policy differences with the President.  There is no reason for Republicans to listen to anyone who says those rules only apply to resistance from the other party.

And it remains amazing that this beyond-broke government still considers itself the rightful holder of title over so many of America’s resources, when it should be required to sell off assets to pay its bills.  The federal government is sitting on enough real estate to pay off the entire national debt, eight times over.  But instead of seeking the income it needs, the Obama Administration speaks endlessly of seizing more money from the private sector, while simultaneously requiring it to pay fabulous tributes to the official State religion of madcap environmentalism.  It’s like a bankrupt credit-card wastrel insisting that he be allowed to hold on to his mansion, fancy car, and expensive jewelry.

There’s no need to go over the top and oppose every fiber of Jewell’s being, with the power of a thousand flaming Chevy Volts.  Praise her for what she does well… and ask tough, reasonable questions about the rest.  There seem to be a few things worth asking about.

 

 

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