Thursday, March 16, 2017

Interior names energy and mineral chief new acting BLM director

Michael Nedd, who had run the Bureau of Land Management's office over energy and mineral programs, will take over as the acting director of the entire agency, the Interior Department said Wednesday. The BLM is the biggest land manager in Utah. Nedd, who was the assistant director for Energy, Minerals, and Realty Management, will take over as the interim head of the nation's land management agency, and Interior said his appointment signals Secretary Ryan Zinke's "focus on creating responsible energy jobs on public lands where appropriate." President Donald Trump has yet to name a BLM director, though Utah state Rep. Mike Noel, R-Kanab, a controversial figure in the public lands debate, has actively campaigned for the job. Trump's White House is far behind that of his predecessors in naming key appointments for federal agencies with some 505 Senate-confirmed positions still awaiting an official nomination, according to a Washington Post database tracking the appointments. Some 19 officials, mainly Cabinet-level or White House senior staff, have been named and another 29 are awaiting confirmation votes. Conservation groups expressed respect for Nedd as an agency veteran who they've been able to work with in the past. "We've known Mike for years as a career employee, and have appreciated open communications with him," said Scott Groene, director of the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance. "We look forward to working with him in this role." Nedd has headed the energy, minerals and realty management sector for BLM since 2007 and previously as a state director and deputy chief information officer. He also served as an officer and enlisted soldier in the U.S. Army...more

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