Share This Page

Senate panel clears Interior nominee

| Thursday, March 21, 2013, 7:39 p.m.

WASHINGTON — The Senate Energy Committee on Thursday endorsed President Obama's nomination of Sally Jewell to be Interior secretary, moving her nomination to the Senate floor for an expected vote next month.

The committee's 19-3 vote in favor of Jewell occurred because Interior Secretary Ken Salazar agreed to review a decision blocking construction of a gravel road through a wildlife refuge to provide access to an all-weather airport in rural Alaska.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, had threatened to hold up Jewell's nomination unless the Obama administration agreed to a land exchange that would allow the road, which would grant access to an all-weather airport for the remote community of King Cove, on the Bering Sea in southwestern Alaska.

Under the agreement, Interior will review an environmental analysis by the Fish and Wildlife Service that concluded the road could be harmful to geese and other waterfowl that fly through the refuge on their way to warmer climates. Murkowski says the report didn't adequately consider the importance of protecting human health and safety.

As part of the agreement, an assistant Interior secretary will visit King Cove and tour the site of the proposed road. If confirmed as Interior secretary, Jewell will tour the site, most likely this summer, Murkowski said.

Salazar didn't visit King Cove before rejecting the road, a point of contention for Murkowski and other Alaska lawmakers.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.