Senators weigh in on BLM nominee
December 25, 2013
Neil Kornze of Elko has been nominated as the next director for the Bureau of Land Management. Nevada's two senators weigh in on his nomination.
Sen. Dean Heller:
Considering the BLM controls roughly 67 percent of Nevada's land, a Nevadan like Neil Kornze has a unique perspective on the challenges that our state faces regarding public land use. 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 and many others with my fellow Nevadan as we work through the confirmation process.
Sen. Harry Reid:
The Bureau of Land Management to most people doesn't mean a thing, because it is an agency that is focused on mostly the West.
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The State of Nevada — 87 percent of the land in the State of Nevada is owned by the federal government, more than any other state.
And the vast majority of that 87 percent is Bureau of Land Management land. And having been involved in government for a number of years—the Bureau of Land Management is looked upon as a remarkably sound agency compared to what it was twenty years ago.
Twenty years ago the Bureau of Land Management had a lower approval rating than the Internal Revenue Service. But they have done a good job of becoming more modernized.
Now, Neil Kornze is somebody that is just perfect for the job, raised in rural Nevada, Elko County. Nevada has 17 counties. But in the northeastern part of the state is a large county that is really a remarkably beautiful place. It now has more mining in it than any place in America. The State of Nevada produced about 6 million ounces of gold last year, and much of it came from Elko County.
But in addition to that we have beautiful ranches, some of them are quite famous — Bing Crosby had a big ranch there and a lot of movie actors. But these ranches even though they were owned by some of these celebrities, were always working ranches.
Elko County has a beautiful wilderness area. The first wilderness we had in the State of Nevada was a long time ago in a place called Jarbidge, which is a wonderfully beautiful pristine area.
The State of Nevada is a very mountainous state — more mountainous than any state in the union except for Alaska. We have more than 300 mountain ranges in Nevada. We have a wide range of animals. Elko County has it all–we have mountain sheep there and all kinds of things. But the only place that I know of in the Western part of the United States other than South Dakota — there could be other places. But we in Nevada are very proud that in Elko County we have mountain goats in addition to all the other animals we have.
So it's a beautiful state, and a beautiful county.
Neil was born and raised in Elko County. He really does understand the role of rural America.
He has a Master's degree in International Relations from the London School of Economics. He has, as indicated here, spent a lot of time in my office.
Staff cared a great deal about him and you can always tell what kind of a staffer you have by how other members of the staff feel about him or her.
So, he understands to develop policy in the Western part of the United States you have to have consensus. There is a lot of competing interest there and he understands that. And frankly, he and I have learned a lot of that together. You just can't charge forward and do what you know is right because you may be wrong. He understands that. He's been with the Bureau for some time now. His expertise is going to be invaluable to the Bureau of Land Management.