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Speaking in the State Dining Room at the White House, President Obama today announced that he has chosen Sally Jewell to be the next Secretary of the Interior. For the past eight years, Ms. Jewell has been the CEO of REI, one of America's most successful and environmentally conscious retailers. Previously, she had worked in oil fields in Oklahoma and Colorado, and as an energy expert in banking -- experience the President highlighted as he introduced Ms. Jewell to the American people:
So even as Sally has spent the majority of her career outside of Washington -- where, I might add, the majority of our interior is located -- she is an expert on the energy and climate issues that are going to shape our future. She is committed to building our nation-to-nation relationship with Indian Country. She knows the link between conservation and good jobs. 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 in hand. She has shown that a company with more than $1 billion in sales can do the right thing for our planet.
The President used the occasion to thank Ken Salazar, who served as Secretary of the Interior for President Obama's first term, for his dedication to the American people and our national treasures, and praised his accomplishments over the last four years:
Since being confirmed, Ken has cracked down on waste. He's improved the management of the Department to make it work better for the American people. He has ushered in a new era of conservation for our land, our water and our wildlife. He's established seven new national parks, 10 new national wildlife refuges. He has opened more public land and water for safe and responsible energy production, not just gas and oil but also wind and solar, creating thousands of new jobs and nearly doubling our use of renewable energy in this country. He has helped to forge what is probably the strongest working relationship with tribal leaders that the federal government has seen in modern times. And when the unexpected has happened -- like the Gulf oil spill or Hurricane Sandy -- he has been on the ground making sure that people get help right away and we deal with these challenges as professionally as possible.