Nevadan advances in bid to head BLM

WASHINGTON — A Senate panel on Thursday advanced the confirmation of Nevada native Neil Kornze to head the Bureau of Land Management.

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee approved Kornze’s nomination, 19-3, and sent it to the Senate floor for final confirmation.

Kornze, 35, is acting head of the federal land agency, a post obtained after the May 2012 retirement of previous Director Bob Abbey. He joined the BLM in January 2011. Previously he worked eight years in the office of Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev. He was raised in Elko County.

Republican Sens. John Barrasso of Wyoming, Mike Lee of Utah and Tim Scott of South Carolina voted against Kornze.

There was no discussion of the nomination during a short committee meeting. Barrasso previously had challenged Kornze’s experience.

Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., voted for the nomination.

Contact Stephens Washington Bureau Chief Steve Tetreault at or 202-783-1760. Follow him on Twitter @STetreaultDC on.