President Obama's announcement of Sally Jewell as his choice for Secretary of the Interior Wednesday prompted reaction from Alaskans in the resource development field as well as environmental preservationists.
Nicole Whittington-Evans, Alaska Regional Director for The Wilderness Society, describes the position as "extremely important." She said Wednesday, "We have a large amount of federal public lands, and the Secretary of the Interior oversees those public lands."
Jewell is a former oil company engineer and longtime conservation advocate. That background, along with her lack of experience, politically sets her apart as a unique candidate for the job.
Rick Rogers, Executive Director of the Alaska Resource Development Council, said of Jewell, "If she's the type of person who understands the importance of our natural environment for all kinds of uses including oil and gas development, recreation, tourism, fishing, mining, forestry--then she's going to do a great job."