Obama to nominate Connor for Interior’s Deputy Secretary

President Barack Obama has announced his intent to announce nominations for a number of administration positions, including Deputy Secretary for the U.S. Department of the Interior.

According to Interior, Michael L. Connor will receive the nod to replace current Deputy Secretary David J. Hayes, who has served the agency since May 2009.

Connor most recently served as Commissioner for the Bureau of Reclamation, which he will continue overseeing while his nomination is being considered by the Senate.

If confirmed, Connor would be the second-highest ranking official at Interior, with “statutory responsibility as the Chief Operating Officer to help lead a Department of more than 70,000 employees and an annual budget of about US$12 billion”, the agency said.

“Mike will bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the position after two decades in public service working on energy, conservation and water issues,” Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell said.

Throughout his time with Reclamation, Connor has promoted the sustainable use of water while addressing current and future challenges related to water supply and power generation.

During his tenure, Reclamation’s WaterSMART program has used conservation and reuse to increase water supply across the American west by more than 700,000 acre-feet per year. The bureau has added more than 100 MW of new hydroelectric capacity at existing Reclamation facilities, identified an additional 370 MW, and restored thousands of miles of riparian habitat.

“He has proven himself to be a thoughtful and collaborative leader on some of the toughest challenges at the Department — including finding sustainable solutions to water challenges in the West and resolving Indian water rights claims,” Jewell said. “Interior will be well served by his commonsense approach in the Deputy position.”

Prior to his stint with Reclamation, Connor served as Counsel to the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and an advisor on issues related to energy development, tribal nations, and land and water management. He has also served in a number of positions with Interior, including the Solicitor’s Office and Indian Water Rights Office.

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