Our local congressman, Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, has reservations about Sally Jewell, President Obama's nominee for secretary of the Interior Department. Bishop, who chairs the House Natural Resources Committee's public lands subcommittee, has voiced concerns about Jewell's tenure as chief operating officer for retailer Recreation Equipment Inc. He claims, in a Washington Post article, that REI, while Jewell was there, supported groups he considers as radical, including the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance.
Jewell's nomination is important. As head of the Interior Department, she will lead a push to extract more energy from U.S. lands, measures that have the potential to significantly boost the U.S. economy.
As we have mentioned in these pages before, the development of fracking -- a procedure to extract oil and natural gas from shale deep in the ground -- has made Utah, and other areas of the U.S., the biggest holder of energy deposits in the world.
In our opinion, Bishop needs to get behind Jewell as Interior secretary. She is the best pick that can be expected from the liberal Obama administration. In fact, we argue that a look at her entire experience indicates that President Obama expects her to promote more energy development, including fracking. The nominee, 56, has worked in the oil industry. She has experience with Mobil Oil. She is also an outdoors enthusiast who climbs mountains, including Mount Rainier.
One of Jewell's main jobs will be overseeing regulations for fracking. This is an extremely important task. There are many areas where fracking can be started, but it is imperative that federal rules be initiated to make sure that fracking is conducted in a manner that does not cause water and air pollution. It is appropriate that the feds regulate this energy boom.
We believe that Jewell will be able to develop a policy that makes sure that the energy development boom does not pollute the environment. She has not been selected to parrot environmental extremists who would like to just end fracking and other energy initiatives. A spokesman for the National Mining Association, a lobbying group, was correct when he told the Washington Post that the organization trusts "she (Jewell) will put her experience to good use in addressing long-standing impediments to more efficient development of these resources."