State reps react to BLM nomination

CARSON CITY — President Barack Obama has nominated Neil Kornze to become director of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.

Kornze was raised in Elko and is a former senior adviser to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

Since March he has been leading the BLM as the agency’s principal deputy director.

The agency oversees more than 245 million acres of public lands nationwide, including about 48 million acres in Nevada.

“Neil has helped implement forward-looking reforms at the BLM to promote energy development in areas of minimal conflict, drive landscape-level planning efforts and dramatically expand the agency’s use of technology to speed up the process for energy permitting, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said in a press release.

Nevada Senator Dean Heller said having a Nevadan nominee is imperative because of the amount of public land in Nevada.

“Considering the BLM controls roughly 67 percent of Nevada’s land, a Nevadan like Neil has a unique perspective on the challenges that our state faces regarding public land use,” Heller said. “Any nominee to lead this agency must understand that good public land management and economic development are not mutually exclusive, an issue with which a Nevadan like Neil is familiar. At the same time, the BLM is in the process of making decisions about sage grouse conservation that could have an enormous impact on Nevada’s economy, As a member of the Committee reviewing this nomination, I look forward to discussing this issue with many others with my fellow Nevadans as we work through the confirmation process.”

Kornze joined the BLM in 2011 as a senior adviser to the director, working on a range of issues including renewable and conventional energy development and conservation policy. Kornze played a major role in the Obama administration’s public lands solar policy. If confirmed by the Senate, Kornze would be the head of the BLM, which manages more than 245 million acres of public land and 800 million sub-surface acres of mineral estate.

Kornze’s nomination appears to be a continuation of the Obama administration’s drive to push renewable energy projects.

Since 2010, the BLM approved 25 utility-scale solar energy projects and has 70 pending solar applications as well.

Reid also supported the nomination. Reid says having grown up in Elko, Kornze, who served as an aide to the Senator, has seen firsthand the critical role that publics lands play in the economies of Nevada and other Western states.

“I am pleased President Obama has nominated Neil Kornze to be Director of the Bureau of Land Management,” Reid said. “Neil fully understands how important public lands are for renewable energy development, outdoor recreation, economic development and conservation. Raised in Elko, Nevada, he has seen firsthand the cirtical role that public lands play in the economies of Nevada and other Western states. Neil was a trusted advisor of mine for many years and I am fully confident he will be a successful BLM director.”

Senators Reid and Heller also supported the Employment Non Discrimination Act, which would ban workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

“Discrimination of any kind is unacceptable,” Heller said. “Nevadans have made a point to ensure that our state laws offer protections for individuals regardless of their lifestyle. This bill will help ensure those same protections to Americans across the country. It is a well-balanced and fair piece of legislation that I hope the House of Representatives will also take up and pass.”

Reid said now is the time for Congress to act on this bill.

“It is time for Congress to pass a federal law that ensures all our citizens, regardless of where they live, can go to work unafraid to be who they are,” Reid said.

Whether it passes in the House of Representatives remains to be seen, something Nevada Congressman Steven Horsford said he hopes changes very quickly.

“I applaud Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid for effectively moving ENDA forward, Senator Dean Heller for standing on the right side of history and the other 62 Senators for voting to align workplace policies in our country with the underlying American Creed of equality,” Horsford said. “…Unfortunately Speaker (John) Boehner has signaled he will likely not bring this legislation up for a vote in the House. It is sad that some in Congress are so out of touch that they would obstruct the will of the majority of Americans who support these common sense protections in federal law.”

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.


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  1. Mr. Kornze needs to make changes to the wild horse gathering plan used by the BLM. They have a report by the National Academy of Sciences stating that there plan to remove horses using helicopters and other inhumane means is “an expensive failure” and they have ignored it due to the money involved in land leasing by BLM. Listen to the will of the people and do the right thing. stop gathering horses–You have 49,000 living life in BLM pens at a cost of $77,000,000 a year to taxpayers. You kill hundreds a year during roundups and you need to listen to the real experts!! After all you paid $1,200,000 for the report you are ignoring–sound like good management to you??

    • Lyle Henriod says:

      They need to turn the horses back to the ranchers that had them before the government took over. The horses are the real problem for over grazing, not the producers. They make a living on the land. They don’t want to abuse the range as they plan on that range land for grazing year after year. Their is no population control on the wild horse,and because of it they are way over populated. The BLM doesn’t even catch the off spring ever year. In time, and the way it is going, it;s not to far in the future the horse will kill the range and then they will starve to death. Is that humane? A suggestion for the problem is let the rancher have a few permits to run a few horses. That will help control numbers and still have a few horses on the range and improve quality.Opening them to the public would create some problems with out regulation.Putting 49000 hd. in a pen and just feeding them is inhumane, at an expense of 77,000,000 taxpayers dollars is stupidity.I suggest adopt out those that can be adopted and sell the rest for meat.We need to get with our law makers and educate them on the real problem so they can redo our laws so we can resolve the real problem at hand.

      • JanWindsong says:

        That would be the last thing any citizen should consider, Ms Rancher Livestock Styler. The “producers” (aka cattle and sheep men) have ruined the public lands by insisting on putting thousands of animals off their ranch, impeding the health and access of wildlife (which the cirizens would rather see) for the profit of the livestock interests. Don’t mistake the term “producer” for th person who cares for the land – the degradation of public lands is rampant taking grasslands which supported millions and millions of buffalo, horses, elk and deer not to mention vast, thriving populations of predators down to tHe scraggly, weed invaded grasslands it is now. ALL of the conflict of use stems from the wrong attitude that the ranchers own or cntrol the public land abutting their private land. They don’t. We don’t want quarterhorses running loose (the breeding program) – we want wild horses, burros, elk, deer, pumas, wolves, badgers etc. Get the cattle and sheep off!

  2. Maggie Frazier says:

    The loss of grazing is due to the huge numbers of cattle & sheep that are turned out on our public lands. If our government was on the ball – the large cattle corporations that are using the grazing allotments for next to nothing would have to ante up & pay what they would pay on private land. Frankly I think the taxpayers deserve more than $1.35 per cow/calf pair. This is OUR public land we’re talking about. The horses – if left alone – would limit their numbers (read the data on this). Spending all this money on roundups & short term & long term holding facilities is just another of bureaucracy in action! Why did they spend all that money on the NAS report and then apparently didn’t read & understand what it said? The report came right out and stated that continuously removing the horses caused an increase in reproduction. Certainly was clear to ME!

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