Interior Secretary Jewell Makes First Visit To Northwest

May 24, 2013

Interior Secretary Sally Jewell made her first public stop in the Northwest in Portland today, six weeks into the job. Amelia Templeton from our EarthFix team reports that local activists wanted to know how she will handle coal leases on federal land.

Jewell’s official business was announcing roughly four million dollars in grants to give young people summer jobs in conservation and trail work.

During her visit, she pitched in digging up invasive grasses on the edge of a wildlife refuge.

An activist from the group Columbia Riverkeeper used the chance to ask Secretary Jewell about proposed coal export terminals. The activist wanted to know if the Department of Interior will stop granting coal leases while it investigates whether companies have avoided paying royalties on export sales. Jewell didn’t answer the question directly.

Jewell: “Our charter within BLM is multiple use on those lands, and part of that is ensuring we get a fair return for the American people. So that’s very important to us.”

Jewell will appear with Governor John Kitzhaber to sign off on several Northwest energy and infrastructure projects.

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