During a mark-up for the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Senator Lee voted "No" on the nomination of Sally Jewell as the next Secretary of the Department of the Interior. He made the following statement to explain his vote against Ms. Jewell:
The Secretary of the Interior exercises enormous influence and power over the daily lives of Utahns. The decisions made at the Department of the Interior impact our economy and citizens in significant ways. These decisions determine whether families can continue to use roads to reach hunting areas that have been used for generations or whether ranchers can continue to graze cattle on land that they have used for decades. The department's policies also dramatically impact whether communities will have the necessary resources to fund schools and other local priorities. The Secretary's sweeping authority and my duty to the citizens of Utah require that I hold any nominee to a very high standard. Ms. Jewell is an impressive candidate. Her experience as CEO of REI is solid. However, her experience in public land policy involves active participation in organizations that continually sue to restrict access to public land and prevent development of natural resources in Utah and across the West. Her public land policy experience raised serious questions that were not adequately addressed before today's business meeting. For these reasons I oppose her appointment. If she is confirmed, I will make every effort to work with Ms. Jewell on these critical issues which impact Utah and the nation.