Former Reid aide confirmed as head of Interior energy agency

The Senate confirmed Neil Kornze as head of Interior's Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Tuesday evening.

President Obama tapped the former aide to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) for the post in November. Kornze will direct the Interior Department branch that regulates oil-and-gas drilling, renewable power development and conservation on huge swaths of federal land.

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Kornze worked in the acting capacity as  BLM's deputy director for a little over a year. Previously, Kornze served as a senior official at BLM since 2011 and from 2003-2011 worked in a variety of posts for Reid.

Interior Secretary Sally Jewell applauded the Senate's confirmation of Kornze.

"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," Jewell said in a statement Tuesday.

"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.”

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