Obama’s Interior Pick Owns Stock in U.S. Lease Holders

Sally Jewell, President Barack Obama’s nominee for U.S. Interior secretary, disclosed she owns shares in companies such as ConocoPhillips and Exxon Mobil Corp., which hold drilling leases managed by the department.

Jewell, the chief executive officer of Recreational Equipment Inc., filed documents showing more than $2 million in investments in stocks, bonds and mutual funds with the Office of Government Ethics before her confirmation hearing scheduled tomorrow before the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

The shares include about three dozen oil, gas and related companies, including Exxon and ConocoPhillips, which Jewell, 57, said in a letter to the ethics office that she would sell.

The executive owns more than $50,000 in Exxon, Apple Inc. and International Business Machines Corp. stock, and is expecting millions of dollars in deferred compensation and bonus from REI, her disclosure forms show. The other individual stocks she owns are of lower value, most less than $1,000.

Her total REI compensation in 2011 was $2 million, including $754,307 in base pay and $895,093 in a long-term incentive plan, according to a document on the company’s website. In her letter to the ethics agency, dated Feb. 8 and made available yesterday, Jewell said she would resign from REI if confirmed, then begin to sell her stock. She also said she will step down from the boards of the University of Washington, Retail Industry Leaders Association and her local homeowners group.

The Interior Department has about 70,000 employees who run national parks, handle Indian affairs, lease public lands for oil, gas and coal mining, and police safety of those operations.

Jewell started working at Mobil Oil Corp. in 1978, moved into commercial banking then joined Kent, Washington-based REI in 2000 as chief operating officer. She is an outdoors enthusiast who has climbed 14,400-foot Mount Rainier, the highest point in Washington state, several times.

Jewell donated $5,250 to political candidates over the past two years, mostly to Democrats, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

If confirmed, she would succeed Ken Salazar, a former Democratic senator from Colorado who sought to strengthen oil and gas regulations after BP Plc’s 2010 Gulf of Mexico spill and to expand solar and wind projects on federal land.

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