President Obama has been in a little bit of trouble lately for not having enough women and minorities in his cabinet. It’s too bad he doesn’t just point to himself and say, “Did you notice I’m a minority? Presidents used to own people who looked like me, until very recently, in geologic time.” But instead, Obama is diligently trying to find women and minorities in their various habitats, such as corporate boardrooms.
Sally Jewell, a former oil company official and corporate banker, seems like the perfect candidate to protect our public lands from the greed and destruction of oil companies and Wall Street. But her business experience is not just about the profitable extraction of fossil fuels from our planet and the monetization of everything. She is also the chief executive of Recreational Equipment Inc., or REI, the expensive outdoor gear chain that allows wealthy screenwriters to wander New York City or Santa Monica dressed like they’re climbing boulders at Joshua Tree or Yosemite.
Environmentalists had hoped Obama would pick a dedicated public official with a history of green action for this “liberal second term,” with many pushing for Congressman Raul Grijalva, an Arizona Democrat and Latino with a strong record in environmental policy, a “natural” favorite for taking over from outgoing Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, an actual corporate rancher who even wears a moronic cowboy hat and bolo tie.
Luckily, Sally Jewell has also won various “conservation awards,” so there is more to her than just another Mobil executive given control of Western public lands. Let’s hope she allows widespread fracking on public lands in a way that doesn’t make Republicans think she’s an eco-terrorist.