WASHINGTON -- The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee approved President Obama’s pick to lead the Interior Department, REI Chief Executive Sally Jewell, sending the nomination to the full Senate for consideration.
At a time when several Obama Cabinet nominees have faced high hurdles during the confirmation process, Jewell sailed through the committee with a 19-3 vote. Republicans Mike Lee of Utah, Tim Scott of South Carolina and John Barrasso of Wyoming opposed her nomination.
Barrasso had questioned Jewell doggedly during the confirmation hearing a few weeks ago about her service on the board of the National Parks Conservation Assn., an environmental group, an affiliation he cited in his decision to reject the nomination.
“NPCA has frequently sued the federal government to shut down energy production and has sought aggressive regulations that threaten American jobs,” Barrasso said. “I have asked Ms. Jewell whether she disagrees with NPCA’s positions. She testified that as vice chair she was unaware of the organization’s various positions and thus unable to say what positions she disagrees with. Well, that concerns me.”