Circle of Blue

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hosted a confirmation hearing Thursday for Sally Jewell, President Barack Obama’s nominee to be the next Interior Department Secretary. Jewell was greeted warmly and treated respectfully by lawmakers from both parties, a polite start to a term at the helm of an agency contending with immense transition in an era of volatile politics and climatic conditions.

Jewell’s testimony focused on finding a balance in federal management of the nation’s land, water, minerals, forest, and energy resources under the Interior Department’s jurisdiction. But what that balance meant – from gas and oil development on public lands, to wildlife refuge protection, forest management, natural parks, and grazing lands — varied significantly depending on who asked the questions.

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