Obama to nominate new assistant secretary for land and minerals

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President Obama announced late Wednesday plans to nominate environment lawyer Janice Schneider to a key post in the Interior Department.

Schneider will be nominated for assistant secretary for Land and Minerals Management in Interior. She is currently a partner at Latham & Watkins LLP, where she handles environment, land and resource issues.

At Interior, Schneider would deal in issues of public lands, offshore waters and federal energy and mineral resources.

Interior Secretary Sally Jewell applauded the president on the nomination.

“Janice’s expertise in natural resource, energy development and environmental law and policy will enable us to continue to safely and responsibly expand America’s conventional and renewable energy exploration and development under President Obama’s all-of-the-above energy strategy,” Jewell said in a statement.

“With experience in both the public and private sectors, she will be an advocate for a balanced approach and a science-based decision-making process that both advances the President’s key energy initiatives and promotes the conservation of our federal lands and natural resources.”

If confirmed, Schneider would manage a budget of roughly $1.5 billion and more than 12,000 employees. She will replace current assistant secretary Tommy Beaudreau.

Beaudreau joined the Interior Department shortly after the 2010 BP oil spill to handle oversight of the cleanup process. He will remain on in his second post as director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.

The Houston Chronicle reported Beaudreau may be poised to take over Interior's budget and policy office.