Nevadan nominated to head BLM

WASHINGTON — Neil Kornze, a Nevadan raised in Elko, was nominated by President Barack Obama on Thursday to become director of the Bureau of Land Management.

Kornze, 35, has been with the BLM since January 2011, and most recently was principal deputy director.

Previously he worked for eight years on the staff of Sen. Harry Reid, starting as a correspondent and eventually rising to become the Nevada Democrat’s senior policy adviser on public lands.

At the BLM, Kornze has been associated with the expansion of renewable energy development on the public land.

If confirmed by the Senate, Kornze would become the second consecutive BLM leader with a Nevada tie. Former Nevada BLM Director Bob Abbey headed the national office from August 2009 until he retired in May 2012. Acting officials have led in the interim.

The BLM, the government’s largest land agency, oversees activities on 247 million acres of federal property, mostly located in 12 Western states.

In Nevada it controls 48 million acres, about 67 percent of the state, through policies on mining, recreation, grazing and energy development that impact a substantial part of the economy.

“For more than a decade, Neil has been a key player in many of the nation’s major natural resource policy issues and has a reputation for being creative and results-oriented,” Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said.

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