WASHINGTON, March 8 (UPI) -- U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, at a hearing for a new Interior chief, said U.S. land isn't just for recreation but for "paychecks" for energy and mining industries.
Sally Jewell, U.S. President Barack Obama's nominee for interior secretary, testified at a confirmation hearing in Washington. Jewell is chief executive officer of outdoor retailer Recreational Equipment Inc. and worked as a petroleum engineer for Mobil before it merged with Exxon.
Murkowski, R-Alaska, said Jewell needed to convince lawmakers that she'd maintain a sense of balance if she's tasked with overseeing U.S. public lands.
"We need you to affirm that public lands provide not just a playground for recreational enthusiasts, but also paychecks for countless energy producers, miners, loggers and ranchers," she said.
Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, countered that recreation was "a big jobs engine" for the U.S. economy.
"Americans are now spending $646 billion a year on outdoor recreation and generating nearly $40 billion in federal tax revenue, so the economics of public lands have changed in America," he said.
Jewell was quoted by Bloomberg News as telling a western governor's forum in June that protecting "parks, waters and trails is about protecting the economy."
|Additional Energy Resources Stories|
TEL AVIV, Israel, May 17 (UPI) --Nobel Energy of Houston, which discovered Israel's big gas fields in the eastern Mediterranean, is pressing the government to decide soon on an energy export policy as the prospect of an undersea pipeline to Turkey gains credibility.