Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell yesterday released the following statement after the U.S. Senate confirmed Neil Kornze to serve as Director of the BLM:
"I’m thrilled that the Senate has confirmed Neil so that he can continue to serve at the BLM on behalf of the American people. With strong Western roots and a deep understanding of the issues, Neil for more than a decade has proven himself to be a creative and results-oriented professional, and has been a great asset to the Interior Department when it comes to promoting smart energy development and driving thoughtful landscape-level planning efforts. The BLM is one of the most complex federal land management agencies, and I know that Neil’s practical and commonsense approach to problem solving will help the Bureau fulfill its multiple use and sustained yield mission."
Neil Kornze at California Coastal National Monument
Kornze has led the BLM since March 1, 2013, as Principal Deputy Director, overseeing its conservation, outdoor recreation and energy development programs. Prior to this role, Kornze served as the BLM’s Acting Deputy Director for Policy and Programs since October 2011. He joined the agency in January 2011 as a Senior Advisor to the Director and has worked on a range of issues, including renewable and conventional energy development, transmission siting and conservation policy. He also has been active in tribal consultation, especially regarding oil, gas and renewable energy development in Indian Country.
Kornze played a key role in developing the Western Solar Plan, which established 17 low-conflict zones for commercial solar energy development and also identified lands appropriate for conservation, and the agency’s approval of 47 solar, wind and geothermal utility-scale projects on public lands, as a leader of the Department’s Renewable Energy Strike Team. When built, these projects add up to more than 13,300 megawatts — enough electricity to power 4.6 million homes and support 19,000 construction and operations jobs. He also has been a leader in reforming BLM’s oil and gas program, including the upcoming launch of a nation-wide online permitting system that could significantly reduce drilling permit processing times, and in the bureau’s efforts to enhance and increase visitors to the diverse system of national conservation lands.
Before joining the BLM, Kornze was a Senior Policy Advisor to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, working on renewable energy, mining, water, outdoor recreation, rural development and wildlife conservation issues. He worked closely on developing and helping pass critical national legislation, including the Omnibus Public Lands Act of 2009 and the reauthorization of the Secure Rural Schools and Payment-in-Lieu-of-Taxes programs. Raised in Elko, Nev., by a family with a long history in mining, Kornze has a master’s degree in International Relations from the London School of Economics and is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate with a degree in Politics from Whitman College in Walla Walla, Wash.
Collage of photos of now BLM Director Neil Kornze, includes photos of Kornze with BLM employees and at the White House.