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Senate confirms Neil Kornze as BLM director

President Barack Obama signs a document proclaiming the Point Arena-Stornetta Public Lands as part of the California Coastal National Monument during a signing ceremony in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, March 11, 2014. From left are: Scott Schneider, President and CEO, Visit Mendocino County Inc.; Leslie Dahlhoff, Former Mayor, Point Arena; Michael Boots, Acting Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality; Neil Kornze, Principal Deputy Director, Bureau of Land Management; Rep. Jared Huffman, D-Calif.; Rep. Mike Thompson, D-Calif.; Nancy Sutley, Former Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak) Neil Kornze fourth from the left at Oval Office ceremony (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

The Senate confirmed Neil Kornze to run the Bureau of Land Management, where he currently works as its principal deputy director. Previously, the native Nevadan worked on public lands issues in Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) office.

Kornze, 35, will be in charge of the federal agency that oversees 264 million acres of public lands, primarily in western states. Republicans cited his age in questioning whether he had the necessary experience to run a government department. The Senate approved him 71-28.

The Senate also confirmed, by voice vote, Frank G. Klotz, a retired U.S. Air Force lieutenant general, to be under secretary of Energy for nuclear security and administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration. Klotz had top jobs in the Air Force and on national security issues in President George W. Bush’s administration. He was most recently a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Colby Itkowitz is the lead anchor of the Inspired Life blog. She previously covered the quirks of national politics and the federal government.

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