Entries in Interior Department (2)


Obama to Tap REI CEO as Interior Secretary

Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama will nominate Sally Jewell to be the next secretary of the interior, a senior White House official told ABC News.

Jewell is the CEO of REI, the outdoor recreational equipment retailer.  She has no political experience, but according to the Denver Post, she did spend five weeks hiking in Antarctica in 2011, climbing some of the continent’s most treacherous peaks.

Jewell will replace Ken Salazar, who has announced he will not stay for Obama’s second term. She is the first woman Obama has announced for his second-term cabinet.

The president will make the announcement Wednesday afternoon.

One senior official said this of the nomination: "It’s a cool idea."

"Sally Jewell is uniquely qualified to be secretary of the interior," another official offered. "With years of experience managing a nearly $2 billion a year company, she will bring to the position integrity, keen management skills, as well as dedication to the department’s mission of managing our nation’s lands. Trained as an engineer, Jewell has broad private sector experience in energy and finance, as well as a commitment to conservation."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Interior Department Chief of Staff Leaving His Post

Photo Courtesy - DOI dot gov(WASHINGTON) -- Interior Department chief of staff Tom Strickland is leaving his post.

"I came to Washington to take on this job and help (Interior Department Secretary Ken Salazar) in the task of cleaning up this department," Strickland told the Denver Post. "We've had even more excitement and challenge than we bargained for....We always brought our best effort. We always tried to do right by the people."

Salazar told the newspaper, "I asked him not to leave. I begged him. I'll miss his 80-hour weeks. He wants to move forward and do another chapter."

ABC News reported last May that although his agency was charged with coordinating the federal response to the BP oil spill, Strickland traveled to the Grand Canyon with his wife participating in activities that included whitewater rafting three days after the leaks in the Deepwater Horizon pipeline were discovered.

Other leaders of the Interior Department were focused on the Gulf, joined by other agencies and literally thousands of other employees. The chief of staff’s trip raised eyebrows among other Obama administration officials and even within even his own department, sources told ABC News.

Ultimately, after the government realized that the spill was worse than had been previously thought, officials decided that Strickland was needed in the Gulf so Strickland was taken out of the Grand Canyon by a National Park Service helicopter.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio