Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Sally Jewell Confirmed as Next Interior Secretary

Energy

EcoWatch

The U.S. Senate yesterday confirmed Sally Jewell as the next secretary of the Interior Department by a vote of 87 to 11.

The U.S. Senate yesterday confirmed Sally Jewell as the next secretary of the Interior Department. The REI chief executive, nominated by President Barack Obama to replace Ken Salazar, won confirmation by a vote of 87 to 11.

Among the agencies Jewell will oversee at Interior are the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

“Sally Jewell arrives at a critical moment for the Interior department. America’s public lands and endangered species need strong, visionary leadership that values protections over profits,” said Kierán Suckling, executive director of the Center for Biological Diversity. “We’re hopeful that Sally Jewell shows brave leadership in finally addressing the climate crisis, reversing the tide of species extinctions and protecting wildlands that are vital to wildlife and people alike.”

“One of the biggest challenges will be standing up to protect the environment in the face of relentless pressure by industry to drill, mine, log and pave some of America’s most important and pristine lands, including the Arctic. If she can do that, she’ll preserve an important legacy for all Americans,” said Suckling.

“The Sierra Club is excited that a leader who understands the higher purpose that public lands hold for American families will now lead the agency charged with being our national steward for those very places," said Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club.

The BLM plays an enormous role in energy development on public lands. In February, a new Natural Resources Defense Council analysis showed that at the end of 2011, 70 of the largest oil and gas companies operating in the U.S. held leases covering at least 141 million net acres of American land—an area greater than California and Florida combined. These astounding numbers illustrate just how much of America’s land is already at risk from oil and gas development.

Last year the BLM issued a draft rule for well stimulation (including hydraulic fracturing) under federal leases. The original proposal included limited new rules for chemical disclosure, mechanical integrity and waste water handling.

Last October, former Interior Secretary Ken Salazar signed a record of decision establishing a brand new program for the BLM that will provide a comprehensive framework for managing the solar resources found on public lands in six southwestern states.

"Now her work begins. At the top of the list are critical issues such as safeguarding the Arctic Ocean from the dangers of offshore drilling; protecting America's public lands from destructive fossil fuel extraction practices; continuing to smartly develop renewable energy on public lands and protecting endangered species such as the gray wolf," said Frances Beinecke, president of Natural Resources Defense Council.

“Given her extraordinary background and devotion to conservation efforts, Sally Jewell will make an outstanding Secretary of the Interior. She’s smart, successful and visionary—all qualities which are needed to be the steward of America’s vast natural resources. I applaud the President for making this selection and congratulate the Senate for the thoughtful and bipartisan manner in which her confirmation was handled,” said Rhone Resch, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association.
 
“Many of America’s public landscapes, from the forests of the Pacific Northwest to the beaches along the Gulf Coast, are under increased threat from overdevelopment and pollution from mining, drilling and logging," said Mary Rafferty, conservation program coordinator for Environment America. "We look forward to working together with Secretary Jewell to keep these places protected using the Antiquities Act, conservation programs like the Land and Water Conservation fund and strengthening the proposed rules for fracking in our forests, near our parks and along our waterways."

Visit EcoWatch’s BIODIVERSITY and ENERGY pages for more related news on this topic.

——–

Click here to sign a petition to tell the Bureau of Land Management to issue strong rules for federal fracking leases on public lands.

 

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Residents plant mangroves on the coast of West Aceh District in Indonesia on Feb. 21, 2020. Mangroves play a crucial role in stabilizing the coastline, providing protection from storms, waves and tidal erosion. Dekyon Eon / Opn Images / Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Mangroves play a vital role in capturing carbon from the atmosphere. Mangrove forests are tremendous assets in the fight to stem the climate crisis. They store more carbon than a rainforest of the same size.

Read More Show Less
UN World Oceans Day is usually an invite-only affair at the UN headquarters in New York, but this year anyone can join in by following the live stream on the UNWOD website from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST. https://unworldoceansday.org/

Monday is World Oceans Day, but how can you celebrate our blue planet while social distancing?

Read More Show Less
Cryptococcus yeasts (pictured), including ones that are hybrids, can cause life-threatening infections in primarily immunocompromised people. KATERYNA KON/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY / Getty Images

By Jacob L. Steenwyk and Antonis Rokas

From the mythical minotaur to the mule, creatures created from merging two or more distinct organisms – hybrids – have played defining roles in human history and culture. However, not all hybrids are as fantastic as the minotaur or as dependable as the mule; in fact, some of them cause human diseases.

Read More Show Less
National Trails Day 2020 is now titled In Solidarity, AHS Suspends Promotion of National Trails Day 2020. The American Hiking Society is seeking to amplify Black voices in the outdoor community and advocate for equal access to the outdoors. Klaus Vedfelt / DigitalVision / Getty Images

This Saturday, June 6, marks National Trails Day, an annual celebration of the remarkable recreational, scenic and hiking trails that crisscross parks nationwide. The event, which started in 1993, honors the National Trail System and calls for volunteers to help with trail maintenance in parks across the country.

Read More Show Less
Indigenous people from the Parque das Tribos community mourn the death of Chief Messias of the Kokama tribe from Covid-19, in Manaus, Brazil, on May 14, 2020. MICHAEL DANTAS / AFP / Getty Images

By John Letzing

This past Wednesday, when some previously hard-hit countries were able to register daily COVID-19 infections in the single digits, the Navajo Nation – a 71,000 square-kilometer (27,000-square-mile) expanse of the western US – reported 54 new cases of what's referred to locally as "Dikos Ntsaaígíí-19."

Read More Show Less
World Environment Day was put into motion almost fifty years ago by the United Nations as a response to a multitude of environmental threats. RicardoImagen / Getty Images

It's a different kind of World Environment Day this year. In prior years, it might have been enough to plant a tree, spend some extra time in the garden, or teach kids the importance of recycling. This year we have heavier tasks at hand. It's been months since we've been able to spend sufficient time outside, and as we lustfully watch the beauty of a new spring through our kitchen's glass windows, we have to decide how we'll interact with the natural world on our release, and how we can prevent, or be equipped to handle, future threats against our wellbeing.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Experts are worried that COVID-19, a primarily respiratory and airway disease, could have permanent effects on lungs, inhibiting the ability for divers to continue diving. Tiffany Duong / Ocean Rebels

Scuba divers around the world are holding their metaphorical breath to see if a coronavirus infection affects the ability to dive.

Read More Show Less