Dear Trail Voter: Last week on Thursday March 21, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee cast a 19-3 vote to support Sally Jewell's nomination to head up the Department of Interior.
TPAC expects the full Senate to vote on her confirmation sometime in late April. She will be replacing the outgoing Ken Salazar who is moving back to Colorado.
Interestingly enough, OHV trail and road access to public lands were the main topics of concern expressed by a number of politicians including John Barrasso, Mike Lee, and Lisa Murkowski.
Barrasso and other senators raised concerns about her involvement with anti-access litigation as Vice-Chairman of the National Park Conservation Association since that organization has filed many lawsuits to restrict or ban OHV and snowmobile use on federal lands.
Historically, most people appointed to be Secretary of the Interior have a background in ranching or mining. If confirmed, Jewell will be the first "recreation" person in that post. Some of her testimony included her commitment to streamline the permitting process. This could be a plus for OHV events held on BLM lands.
Senator Dean Heller asked her not to list the sage grouse as an endangered species since a listing would impact public land access in many Western States.
Last summer, Jewell, CEO of REI, was part of an outdoor industry coalition - which included representatives from the powersports industry - that helped launch the Western Governor's Association's report on the economic impact of outdoor recreation. That collaboration may help boost her "trail credibility" in efforts to work with diverse stakeholder groups as Secretary of the Interior.
Stay tuned as Jewell's confirmation process moves to the full Senate next month.
The Trail PAC