Senate confirms new Bureau of Reclamation commissioner

The Senate has confirmed President Bush’s nomination of Robert Johnson of Nevada to be commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation.

In the final hours leading to the congressional election recess, the Senate approved the nomination Sept. 30. The president nominated Johnson to lead the Interior Department agency on July 20. (HNN 7/25/06)

Johnson replaces former Commissioner John Keys III, who retired earlier this year. Deputy Commissioner Bill Rinne served as acting commissioner following Keys’ retirement.

Johnson previously served as regional director of BuRec’s Lower Colorado Region, a job he had held since 1995. Previously, Johnson served as deputy regional director. He has worked for BuRec since 1975, when he joined its Mid-Pacific Region.

BuRec is the second largest producer of hydropower in the United States and the largest wholesale water supplier. Its facilities in 17 Western states include 58 hydro plants totaling 14,758 MW that annually generate 39,776 gigawatt-hours. The facilities also provide flood control, recreation, and fish and wildlife benefits.

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