Senate confirms Jewell as interior chief

April 11, 2013 at 9:53 AM
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WASHINGTON, April 11 (UPI) -- The U.S. Senate confirmed outdoor retailer REI chief Sally Jewell as interior secretary, overcoming threats by some Republicans to hold up her nomination.

The vote Wednesday was 87-11.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, had threatened to hold up Jewell's nomination because of the Interior Department's initial decision to block a gravel road linking residents of a village in Alaska with a nearby airport, Politico reported. Outgoing Interior Secretary Ken Salazar last month said the matter would be reconsidered.

Jewell's nomination also was ensnared in a dispute between Sen. Jim Risch, R-Idaho, and interior officials over a sage grouse protection plan, Politico said. His office said the issue had been "addressed" and Risch dropped his objection.

Other Republicans voiced criticism about Jewell's tenure as vice chairwoman of the National Parks Conservation Association's board of trustees, which sued the federal government several times while she was a board member, Politico said. She said she had no role in the association's decisions to sue.

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