Everyone’s Problem: Secretary of the Interior holds discussion on the impacts of climate change on the Pacific Northwest

Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell (left) and UW Dean of the College of the Environment Dr. Lisa Graumlich (right) hold a round table discussion at the University of Washington in Seattle with researchers and other program managers to discuss the impacts of Climate Change in the Pacific Northwest. Andrew Gobin/Tulalip News

By Andrew Gobin, Tulalip News

Seattle – The United States Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, along with Dean of College of the Environment at University of Washington Dr. Lisa Graumlich, convened a meeting at the University of Washington (UW) in order to discuss climate change, the data we have already seen in the Pacific Northwest, and what the regional impacts are. Representatives from the United States Geological Survey (USGS), UW faculty, the National Parks Service, Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the North Cascades National Parks Complex, the Olympic National Park, and other organizations attended the February 4th meeting. Impacts on ecology, landscape, development and public planning were discussed, though for Native American Tribes, the implications are much more complex as they affect cultural identities. Although tribes’ interests are more deeply vested, collaboration was highlighted throughout the meeting as key to successfully combating climate change.

Dr. Gustavo Bisbal, Director of the USGS Northwest Climate Science Center, said, “{Tribes} have their finger on the pulse of the land. These communities don’t just worry about ‘oh well we can’t go snowboarding,’ or ‘I cannot go and water my carrots.’ There is a spiritual significance to the resources that they don’t see anymore. There is a danger of cultural erosion with things going away. ‘I can’t do this anymore. I cannot be…I cannot realize my tribal identity.’ That is huge, to understand the significance of how those resources are changing, and are really transforming cultures.”

For many years tribes, especially in Washington State, have led the charge in protecting natural resources. Stemming from the 1974 Boldt Decision, which protected tribal interests and rights to natural resources, tribal sovereignty was realized through the recognition of their authority to co-manage resources with state and federal entities. Today, although tribes remain at the forefront with their survival deeply vested in the preservation of natural resources, it is apparent that everyone has an interest in combating issues that come with climate change.

“I think one big lesson that nature, of course, taught us over time is there’s really no geographic or institution boundaries. When you look at the State of Washington, Department of Natural Resources owns the land, forest land, park land, tribal land, and they’re all impacted,” said Hedia Adelsman, policy analyst for the Department of Ecology and appointed proxy for the governor for the meeting. “Ultimately, how do we then work together to not have this fragmentation.”

These entities historically have worked individually, even in natural resource preservation efforts. DNR, for example, is currently developing a climate change adaptation plan, though it only affects DNR land. The boundaries on the land do nothing to contain environmental impacts. On Mount Rainier

Other entities get wrapped up in whether or not it is their responsibility to preserve natural resources or prepare for climate change.

“A climate catastrophe is not the time to have an identity crisis. From a National Parks Service perspective, I think there are still those many, many people within our population who think of national parks as zoos. Some of us realize the importance of national parks for the baseline information that they can provide regarding climate change. From a policy and legislative perspective, they look at specific species in parks, which a zoo-like mentality, as opposed to looking long range and thinking; well what if Roosevelt Elk actually move out of the park habitat, or what if they’re not doing so well. To what extreme would we go to maintain a population of Roosevelt Elk at the expense of keeping baseline data to inform climate change decisions,” said Sarah Creachbaum, Superintendent for the Olympic National Park.

Creachbaum demonstrated two roadblocks that need to change, one being the perspectives at the decision making level, and the second being the challenges in identity and questions of responsibility. The National Parks Service essentially is at the frontline, observing environmental changes on a daily basis. The potential data they stand to provide, in addition to what they do now, is overlooked because of these roadblocks. Creachbaum said they want to come to the table and be part of the team, but their significance has yet to be realized. That lack of vision in addition to oversight at the policy level creates a gap, consequentially hindering natural resource preservation.

Adelsman said, “We are just at the beginning of starting to look at it as a system. The part that I struggle the most with is we are recipient of the science, and we say we need to consider that in our planning policies, but what does that really mean?”

Climate change affects regions and regional systems beyond the natural environment, including the economy, public health, and population. For tribes, the effects will change tribal identity and culture if there are no longer traditional natural resources to have access to. At the end of the day, it is more than a tribal issue, more than a local or regional issue. In the Pacific Northwest, even speaking locally, climate change is an international challenge, as we share waters and mountains. Climate change impacts everyone and it will take a consorted, multi-national effort to plan for and prevent changes in the Pacific Northwest.


Andrew Gobin: 360-716-4188; agobin@tulaliptribes-nsn.gov

Strengthening our Federal Partnership with Tribal Nations

By Sally Jewell, Secretary of the Interior, whitehouse.gov

This week represents another important step forward in the nation-to-nation relationship between Indian Country and this Administration.  Yesterday, President Obama signed an Executive Order establishing a White House Council on Native American Affairs, which will help to continue to strengthen our federal partnership with Tribal Nations.

As Secretary of the Interior, I am honored to chair this Council, which will bring together federal departments and offices on a regular basis to support tribes as they tackle pressing issues such as high unemployment, educational achievement and poverty rates.  By further improving interagency coordination and efficiency, the Council will help break down silos and expand existing efforts to leverage federal programs and resources available to tribal communities.

Throughout the year, the Council will work collaboratively toward advancing five priorities that mirror the issues tribal leaders have raised during previous White House Tribal Nations Conferences:

1) Promoting sustainable economic development;
2) Supporting greater access to and control over healthcare;
3) Improving the effectiveness and efficiency of tribal justice systems;
4) Expanding and improving educational opportunities for Native American youth; and
5) Protecting and supporting the sustainable management of Native lands, environments, and natural resources.

Identifying these priority areas was just one of the many beneficial outcomes of the White House Tribal Nation Conferences, which have been held each year since the President came into office. That is why it’s so important that yesterday’s Executive Order also takes the step of codifying the White House Tribal Nations Conferences as an annual event to ensure that the Executive Branch will continue to meet directly with federally recognized tribal leaders each year.

We know the power of these conferences to strengthen the nation-to-nation relationship between the United States government and tribes and want to ensure that they continue.

The federal government’s unique trust relationship with tribes, as well as distinct legal and treaty obligations, calls for a priority effort to promote the development of prosperous and resilient tribal communities. Yesterday’s Executive Order underscores this Administration’s promise to engage in truly collaborative partnerships and meaningful dialogue with tribal communities.

I’m pleased to play a role in the President’s historic action to further advance the policies of tribal self-determination and self-governance that will help tribes build and sustain their own communities.

Senators Confirm Sally Jewell to Lead Interior; Predict She Will be Good for Indian Country

By Rob Capriccioso, Indian Country Today Media Network

Senators are speaking out after confirming Sally Jewell April 10 by a vote of 87 – 11 to become the next secretary of the United States Department of the Interior, saying she will be strong on American Indian issues as she encounters them in her new position—a position that includes oversight of the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Jewell, 57, was most recently the CEO of an outdoor gear and clothing company called Recreational Equipment Inc., and she is a former commercial banker and oil company engineer, as well as a longtime advocate for conservation and outdoor recreation.

In her previous positions, Jewell hasn’t done a lot of specific work on Indian-related issues, which she admitted during her confirmation hearing, yet some Indian leaders say she has done enough to know that she will be a positive advocate. For instance, she was part of the Board of Regents at the University of Washington, which approved the construction of the university’s new $5.8 million longhouse.

Billy Frank, a Native American environmental advocate, has issued his strong support, as have Fawn Sharp, Chris Stearns, and other Indian leaders.

Several senators also say they believe Jewell will be good for Indian country.

Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), chair of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, has met with Jewell multiple times and has discussed a number of issues important to Indian country, according to the senator’s staff. On March 7, at Jewell’s confirmation hearing, Cantwell asked Jewell for her “comments on the Bureau of Indian Affairs, which will be part of your responsibilities. And whether you would commit to protecting treaty rights and incorporating tribal input into the Interior resource decisions?”

I’m fully committed to upholding the sacred trust responsibilities that we have to Indian tribes and Indian nations,” Jewell replied. “And building and strengthening the nation-to-nation relationship that we have with tribes. I know this is a very important part of the Department of the Interior. … I’m certainly very interested in becoming more steeped in those issues and it has come up across the board in almost every one of my meetings with senators so far. So I very much look forward to taking this part of the role extremely serious.”

Cantwell further asked Jewell whether she supports energy development on Indian lands.

Some tribes are blessed with natural resources and I think leaning into those resources to help the tribes economically as well as help the country by finding sources of energy development are really important,” Jewell said. “I know that businesses and tribes want certainty, in terms of the regulations. And I know that there have been issues with the Bureau of Land Management on how the leases occur. And I certainly will look into furthering that development.”

The comments from Jewell were not enough to convince Sen. John Barrasso (D-Wyo.), the vice-chair of SCIA, to vote for her confirmation. He was tough on her ties to conservation groups during her confirmation hearing, and he ended up being one of the 11 Republicans to vote against her confirmation.

Sen. Jon Tester’s (D-Mont.) office said he is interested in bringing Jewell to Montana to see firsthand the issues involving his state’s tribes. Based on conversations prior to her confirmation, Tester believes she will be a strong advocate for Indians, his spokeswoman said.

Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M), a member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, predicted in a press release that Jewell will be an “outstanding” secretary.

“As fellow engineer, I am confident that Ms. Jewell will use science as her guide in addressing the challenges that lie ahead, including managing our nation’s land and water, and expanding safe and responsible energy production,” Heinrich said. “Ms. Jewell shares my commitment to Indian country and to protecting our natural heritage for our children and for generations to come. And she knows firsthand that conservation and growing the Western economy are inextricably linked.”

On the House side, Don Young (R-Alaska), the leader of the Subcommittee on Indian and Alaska Native Affairs, has not yet met with Jewell, but he has plenty of thoughts on how she can work to strengthen Indian country.

“One of the most important things she can do as Secretary is reorder the pecking order of the bureaus within the Department to give Indian Affairs equal standing with the others,” Michael Anderson, a spokesman for Young, said. “Additionally, one of the Department’s most solemn obligations is to ensure federal laws and policies dealing with tribes are beneficial to American Indians and Alaska Natives, and Congressman Young looks forward to promoting that message and building a strong relationship with Secretary Jewell in the days and months ahead.”

Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D-Hawaii), the ranking member of the Indian-focused subcommittee is also interested in meeting with Jewell as soon as possible, according to the congresswoman’s staff.

President Barack Obama, upon receiving word that the Senate had confirmed Jewell, also mentioned her impending relationship with Indian country in a statement.

“Sally’s commitment to energy and climate issues, her belief in our strong government-to-government relationship with Indian country, and her understanding of the inherent link between conservation and good jobs ensure that she will be an exceptional Secretary of the Interior.”

Jewell was sworn in April 12 in a closed-door ceremony, immediately replacing outgoing Secretary Ken Salazar. She is the 51st Secretary of the Interior.


Read more at http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2013/04/15/senators-confirm-sally-jewell-lead-interior-predict-she-will-be-good-indian-country

Senate schedules confirmation hearing on Sally Jewell’s nomination as Interior Secretary

WASHINGTON — The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a confirmation hearing March 7 to consider REI Chief Executive Sally Jewell’s nomination to become the next Interior Secretary.

President Obama nominated Jewell earlier this month to succeed Ken Salazar, who said he will leave the administration at the end of March and return to Colorado.

The hearing will be led by committee Chairman  Sen. Ron Wyden, a Democrat of Oregon.

Jewell, an avid mountain climber and skier who worked as a banker and a petroleum engineer, would be taking on a department with a dual mission of protecting public lands while tapping timber, coal, gas and other wealth from them.

Already, Jewell’s nomination has drawn attention from interest groups, ranging from mountain bikers who want to lift the ban from their pursuits in national parks to east coast governors who want drilling permitted off the Atlantic Coast.

Statement by Billy Frank Jr. on selection of Sally Jewell as Interior Secretary

Source: Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission

“We are excited about President Obama’s selection of Sally Jewell for Secretary of the Interior,” says Chairman Billy Frank of the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission. “We think she’s a great choice.”

Jewell, the former chief executive officer for outdoor gear giant REI, grew up in Washington state and knows the issues important to Indian tribes, Frank said. “She’s one of us, and we couldn’t be more pleased that she will be leading the Department of Interior for the next four years,” he said.

Frank said that Jewell brings a strong blend of business sense and a natural resources conservation ethic to the agency. “A healthy environment and a healthy economy can go hand-in-hand,” Frank said. “We can have both, and I think Sally Jewell will help make that happen.”

Frank praised Jewell’s knowledge of tribes and tribal issues, and respect for tribal sovereignty and treaty rights. “We are facing big challenges such as achieving salmon recovery, protecting water quality and adapting to climate change,” Frank said. “Our cultures, economies and treaty rights depend on a healthy environment and healthy natural resources.”

Because the Department of Interior also includes the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Jewell’s understanding and respect for tribal governments are critical to a good working relationship between the tribes and the agency, he said.

“I believe Sally is the right person, in the right place, at the right time,” Frank said. “We look forward to working with her, and thank President Obama for his wise choice.”

NAFSA applauds President Obama’s nomination of Sally Jewell for Secretary of the Interior


Native American Group Urges Secretary-designate to Protect Government-to-Government Relationship between Tribal Nations and Federal Government

Native American Financial Services Association


WASHINGTON, DC (February 8, 2013) – Following President Obama’s announcement earlier this week that he would nominate Sally Jewell, President and CEO of REI, to succeed retiring Secretary Ken Salazar at the helm of the Department of Interior, The Native American Financial Services Association (NAFSA) issued the following statement:

“With so many Department of the Interior bureaus and agencies impacting daily life on Native American reservations, Sally Jewell is an outstanding choice to succeed Secretary Salazar,” said Barry Brandon, Executive Director of NAFSA. “She understands the value of our precious wilderness and how important it is to protect our public lands. It is our hope that she will use her new post as Interior Secretary to continually strengthen the unique government-to-government relationship that our tribes share with the federal government. We applaud her nomination and look forward to working with her.”

The Department of the Interior (DOI) is accountable for the administration and preservation of most federal land and natural resources, as well as the management of programs relating to Native Americans, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians. Included within DOI is the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the oldest bureau in the Interior Department.

The Bureau of Indian Affairs provides services to approximately 1.9 million native peoples on reservations across the United States. Additionally, the bureau manages 55 million surface acres and 57 million acres of subsurface minerals held in trust by American Indians, Indian Tribes, and Alaska Natives. If confirmed by the Senate, Jewell will have immense jurisdiction around Native American life.

Jewell, a former oil company official and outdoor enthusiast, won the 2009 Rachel Carson award from the Audubon Society for work furthering environmental efforts. Jewell is vice chairwoman of the National Parks Conservation Association and additionally serves as a board member of the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust; a linked network of green spaces, and historic towns recreational opportunities in Washington State.

The Native American Financial Services Association (NAFSA) formed in 2012 to advocate for Native American sovereign rights and enable tribes to offer responsible online lending products.  Through the protection of consumer rights and sovereign immunity, NAFSA provides vital services to tribally operated lenders serving the under-banked with better short term financial services, furthering economic development opportunities in Indian Country.

REI chief: outsider pick for Interior secretary

President Obama Wednesday named REI CEO Sally Jewell as his nominee to replace Interior Secretary Ken Salazar. Selecting a businesswoman instead of a politician is unusual.

By Craig Welch, Jim Brunner and Kyung M. Song, Seattle Times Reporters

When President Obama picked REI’s chief executive to oversee the nation’s public lands, he chose a Seattle businesswoman steeped in Western land issues — a kayaker, skier and climber as familiar with a hard hat as she is with an ice ax.

Sally Jewell, 56, the Kent-based outdoor-retail co-op’s president and CEO, has worked as an oil-field engineer and a commercial banker. She spent years toiling behind the scenes on recreation, national-park and wildland conflicts, under Democratic and Republican presidents.

But Obama’s choice for secretary of the Interior — a post responsible for everything from wildlife refuges and coal leasing to national parks and offhore oil drilling — comes with markedly little experience in the often-combative ways of D.C. politics.

The post of Interior secretary is typically filled by an experienced politician from the West; Jewell has never held elected public office.

Still, her eclectic résumé and reputation as a low-key problem solver were enough to earn her quick praise from politicians and interest groups usually at odds with one another.

Environmental groups, including American Rivers and Trout Unlimited, applauded her conservation ethic, her efforts to find more funding for national parks and her work showing that environmental stewardship is also good for business. Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune said Jewell has “a demonstrated commitment to preserving the higher purposes public lands hold for all Americans — recreation, adventure and enjoyment.”

At the same time, the Western Energy Alliance, which represents the oil and natural-gas industry in the West, also welcomed Jewell’s nomination.

“Her experience as a petroleum engineer and business leader will bring a unique perspective to an office that is key to our nation’s energy portfolio,” said Tim Wigley, the group’s president.

None of the applause surprisedRepublican Dirk Kempthorne, a former Idaho governor and U.S. senator who served as Interior secretary under President George W. Bush.

“Sally Jewell will be a terrific secretary of the Interior,” Kempthorne said. “She combines a keen intellect with equally keen hearing. She listens well, takes in the information and asks very, very pertinent questions.”

In making the announcement, Obama mentioned Jewell’s deep knowledge — and her relatively thin political résumé — as assets.

“Even as Sally has spent the majority of her career outside of Washington (D.C.) — where, I might add, the majority of our interior is located,” he said, “she is an expert on the energy and climate issues that are going to shape our future. … She knows the link between conservation and good jobs.”

In her remarks, Jewell said: “I have a great job at REI today, but there’s no role that compares to the call to serve my country as secretary of the Interior.”

Complex issues await

Jewell is the first woman among Obama’s second-term Cabinet nominees.

The White House had faced criticism that the new Cabinet lacked diversity after Obama tapped a string of white men for top posts. Obama then promised more diverse nominees.

Former Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire also had been named as a possible contender for the job.

In an interview with The Seattle Times in 2000, Jewell said she grew up wanting to be “a scientist, an oceanographer, a forest ranger — mostly outdoor-related things.”

If confirmed, she faces no shortage of complex issues.

The Interior Department is responsible for more than 500 million acres of public lands, from Yellowstone National Park to the Lincoln Memorial. It administers the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and is a major player in fighting wildfires.

It oversees the scrublands of the Bureau of Land Management and is responsible for leasing rights to oil, coal, gas and heavy metals even when found under land managed by other departments. Interior employs more than 70,000 people.

Jewell has served on the board of the National Parks Conservation Association, which for a decade has complained that budgets for the nation’s park system have been pared to the bone.

The next Interior secretary also will play a key role in deciding whether to protect sage grouse under the ESA, a move that would heavily impact oil and gas development in several Rocky Mountain states.

Interior also oversees the dwindling Colorado River, the lifeblood of several states and a source of water for Southern California, and nascent efforts to drill offshore in the Alaskan Arctic.

Jewell also would be thrust into the center of the battle over exporting coal from the Northwest to Asia. Interior oversees the leasing program that, under Obama, has opened more land in Wyoming and Montana to coal extraction just as domestic coal use has declined. That has prompted an industry push for more exports.

Earlier Obama call

Jewell’s pick was praised by U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., who said in a statement she had worked closely with Jewell on public-land policy and conservation initiatives in Washington state, including the effort to expand the Alpine Lakes Wilderness and create the Wild Sky Wilderness.

Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski, ranking Republican on the Senate panel overseeing the Interior Department, offered a noncommittal statement Wednesday, saying she wanted to hear more about Jewell’s qualifications and “how she plans to restore balance to the Interior Department.”

A more hostile response came from Republican U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop of Utah, chairman of the House subcommittee on public lands, who said he had reservations about REI’s links to “special-interest groups” with “radical political agendas.”

Still, Jewell’s confirmation would put a prominent representative from the business community in the president’s Cabinet.

Jewell was born in England, but moved to the Seattle area before age 4 and is a U.S. citizen.

After graduating from the University of Washington with a mechanical-engineering degree, Jewell married and took a job with Mobil Oil, working in the oil fields of Oklahoma.

She spent three years in the industry before moving back to Seattle to work for Rainier Bank in 1981.

“Oil and gas isn’t found in the most pleasant places in the world and, being a woman, there were things I had to put up with that would be considered illegal now, and it just became tiresome. I also wanted to raise my children around grandparents,” she told Seattle Business magazine last year.

In 1996, she became an REI board member. She was named CEO at REI in 2005.

She has been a donor to Obama’s campaigns, and enjoys a bit of a personal relationship with the president. In 2009, she was sailing with her husband off Port Townsend when her daughter called her cellphone to say the president had invited her to the White House.

The president had asked Jewell and other business leaders from around the country to discuss health-care costs.

During the visit, Obama praised REI for providing health insurance for part-time employees, as well as full-time workers.

While Jewell is more closely identified with the Democratic Party than the Republican Party, she made a high-profile appearance with Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., in 2008 when he was running for president.