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Outdoor gear and clothing CEO is Obama’s Interior pick

REI President Sally Jewell would oversee energy development, endangered species, national parks.

President Barack Obama will announce the nomination Wednesday of Sally Jewell, who heads a recreational gear and outdoor clothing cooperative chain, to lead the nation???s Interior Department and oversee energy development on public lands, mining, national parks, Indian affairs and the care of endangered species.

Environmentalists are already praising Jewell, who presides over Recreational Equipment Inc. (REI), an outdoor retail cooperative that rakes in hundreds of millions of dollars in sales from its 10 million members.

The popular outdoor retailer requires patrons to purchase a membership fee to shop at REI before purchasing their ???eco-conscience??? clothing, gear, or other merchandise.

Jewell has a degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Washington and worked for Mobil Oil for three years after college before joining the banking industry as a petroleum engineer to judge oil deposits as collateral. She has been president of REI since 2005.

As secretary of the Interior Department, Jewell would oversee 71,000 employees and an annual operating budget of $20 billion. If confirmed by the Senate, Jewell would replace outgoing Secretary Ken Salazar.

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Audrey Hudson is an award-winning investigative journalist whose enterprise reporting has sparked numerous congressional investigations that led to laws signed by Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton. She won the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi award for Public Service in 2009 for her report on dangerous drug experiments by the federal government on war veterans, which prompted internal investigations and needed reforms within the Veterans Affairs Department. The report also captured first place for investigative reporting by the Washington, D.C. chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists and was a finalist of the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences Webby Awards for news and politics. Her breaking stories have been picked up and followed by major news publications and periodicals, including Readers Digest, Washington Monthly, and The Weekly Standard, as well as The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Washington Post. With nearly 20 years of experience in Washington as a newspaper reporter and as a Capitol Hill staffer for Western lawmakers, she will now lead Human Events??? coverage of energy and environmental issues. A native of Kentucky, Mrs. Hudson has worked inside the Beltway for nearly two decades -- on Capitol Hill as a Senate and House spokeswoman, and most recently at The Washington Times covering Congress, Homeland Security, and the Supreme Court. Audrey???s email is AHudson@EaglePub.Co