WASHINGTON – As a Senate committee meets today to consider Sally Jewell’s nomination as secretary of the Interior, a sportsmen’s coalition is reiterating the need for balanced energy development on the nation’s public lands. Sportsmen for Responsible Energy Development urged Jewell, if confirmed as secretary, to implement overdue oil and gas leasing reforms to conserve fish and wildlife, uphold hunting and angling opportunities and sustain the nation’s outdoors-dependent economy.
The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee is expected to closely question Jewell, currently the CEO of outdoor retailer REI, about her positions on a number of resource and energy related issues in anticipation of her administration of vast federal holdings that total approximately one-fifth of the country’s landmass. Sportsmen emphasized the importance of these areas – and consequently the role of Interior secretary – to fish and game populations and outdoor activities enjoyed by millions of Americans.
“As Interior secretary, Sally Jewell would be in a unique position to restore balance to public lands energy production and ensure that America’s outdoor recreation-based economy, sportsmen’s access and fish and wildlife populations are sustained,” said Ed Arnett, director of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership’s Center for Responsible Energy Development. “Sportsmen urge Ms. Jewell, if confirmed as secretary, to exercise swift, decisive leadership in implementing measures that ensure this balance and – particularly important in this time of fiscal austerity – maintain funding to critical conservation programs.”
The TRCP, along with the National Wildlife Federation and Trout Unlimited, are lead partners in the SFRED coalition.
“The National Wildlife Federation and its SFRED partners have worked hard to see that responsible energy development on public lands is balanced with conservation of hunting and fishing, recreation and irreplaceable landscapes,” said Jim Lyon, NWF’s vice president for conservation policy. “We look forward to working with Sally Jewell as one who understands and appreciates the importance of conservation and outdoor recreation to the economy and our way of life.”
Activity related to hunting and fishing produces significant economic impact, and the sporting community is part of an outdoor recreation, natural resource conservation and historic preservation sector that generates more than $1 trillion for the U.S. economy every year. This sector also produces $107 billion in tax revenue annually and supports 9.4 million jobs.
“Sportsmen long have been voices for conservation on public lands, not just to maintain their own heritage, but also because they understand the role they play in our economy,” said Brad Powell, senior policy director for Trout Unlimited. “We think Sally Jewell understands how important the health of our public lands is on so many levels. Her experience in the recreation industry will help her bring the needed balance to energy development on public lands.”
President Obama announced Jewell’s nomination last month to replace outgoing Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.
Sportsmen for Responsible Energy Development is a coalition of more than 500 businesses, organizations and individuals dedicated to conserving irreplaceable habitats so future generations can hunt and fish on public lands.