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Interior’s Jewell May Be Best We Could Expect

sally jewell good for public land grazing

Sally Jewell was confirmed by an overwhelming majority of the U.S. Senate this week (vote of 87-11), but there’s been concern expressed about Jewell’s commitment to the multiple-use concept on federal lands. It’s a concern primarily based on the fact that she serves (and will now resign) as vice chairwoman of the board for the National Parks Conservation Association, an organization that has worked through the courts to limit multiple use.

While public lands ranchers had long given up hope that the U.S. Interior Secretary would be someone favorably disposed to grazing or economic use of these lands, Jewell’s resume in many ways has to be considered a potential plus. She’s actually held multiple executive positions with for-profit institutions including Mobil oil and corporate banking, and was CEO of the REI outdoor retail cooperative.

There’s hope that this private-sector experience will make her more predisposed to the argument that there’s a benefit associated with providing the world with food and fiber. Of course, time will be the final arbitrator. Given the political environment in which federal land users are operating in, however, it’s difficult to imagine a scenario much better than the one we’ve been given with Sally Jewell.

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