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Obama names three to key US Interior Department energy posts


The Obama administration has named three new appointees at the Departmentof the Interior to oversee onshore and offshore oil and gas development,leaving a key opening at the agency that develops the five-year offshoreleasing plan.

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Janice Schneider was appointed assistant secretary for land and mineralsmanagement, where she would oversee all energy development activities. Ifconfirmed by the US Senate, Schneider would supervise the Bureau of LandManagement, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and the Bureau of Safety andEnvironmental Enforcement.

Neil Kornze, meanwhile, was nominated as director of the BLM and TommyBeaudreau as Interior's assistant secretary for policy, management and budget.Beaudreau is currently head of BOEM. If his nomination is confirmed by theSenate, it would leave an opening at BOEM, which can be filled by InteriorSecretary Sally Jewell without Senate confirmation.

Schneider is a partner at the law firm of Latham & Watkins LLP, where sheworks on energy project siting issues and environmental matters.

She has previously served in government as counselor to the deputysecretary of the Interior in 2000, a trial attorney in the JusticeDepartment's Environment and Natural Resources Division from 1998-1999 andagain in 2001 and as an attorney in the Interior Department's office of thesolicitor from 1993-1998.

Schneider would replace Wilma Lewis, who left the office last year. Herpost has been filled on an acting basis by Beaudreau.

Kornze was a senior policy adviser to Senate Majority leader Harry Reid,Democrat-Nevada, before joining BLM in January 2011. He has served in variousroles there, including senior adviser to the director, acting deputy directorfor policy and programs and, most recently, principal deputy director.

Beaudreau has served as the first BOEM director since 2011, when thatagency was carved from the former Minerals Management Service. He joinedInterior in 2010 as a senior adviser to his former law partner MichaelBromwich. The pair helped write new offshore safety regulations and reorganizethe former MMS.

Beaudreau also presided over the development of the current 2012-201five-year offshore leasing plan.

--Gary Gentile, by Kevin Saville,