A rugged, whitewater river flowing northward through deep canyons, the New River is among the oldest rivers on the continent. New River Gorge National River in West Virginia encompasses over 70,000 acres of land along the New River, is rich in cultural and natural history, and offers an abundance of scenic and recreational opportunities.
Secretary Salazar Lauds Senate's Confirmation of Michael Connor as Reclamation Commissioner
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today lauded the U.S. Senate's confirmation of Michael L. Connor as Commissioner of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.
“Mike Connor's extensive experience with water management issues in Congress and the Department of the Interior will be invaluable as we work on climate impacts, water efficiency and conservation and drought mitigation,” Secretary Salazar said. “Mike is a dedicated and talented public servant who will strengthen our leadership team as we address the water challenges facing the communities we serve.”
As Reclamation Commissioner, Connor oversees the largest wholesaler of water in the country, bringing water to more than 31 million people and providing one out of five Western farmers with irrigation water for farmland that produces much of the nation's produce. Reclamation is also the second largest producer of hydroelectric power in the western United States with 58 power plants. Its facilities also provide substantial flood control, recreation, and fish and wildlife benefits.
Connor has more than 15 years of experience in the public sector, including having served as Counsel to the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee since May 2001. In that position, Connor has managed legislation for both the Bureau of Reclamation and the U.S. Geological Survey, developed water resources legislation and handled Native American issues that are within the Energy Committee's jurisdiction.
From 1993 to 2001, Connor served in the Department of the Interior, including as deputy director and then director of the Secretary's Indian Water Rights Office from 1998 to 2001, where he represented the Secretary of the Interior in negotiations with Indian tribes, state representatives, and private water users to secure water rights settlements consistent with the federal trust responsibility to tribes. Before that, he was employed with the Interior Solicitor's Office in Washington, D.C. and in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He began his Interior career in the Solicitor's Honors Program in 1993.
Connor received his Juris Doctor degree from the University of Colorado School of Law, and is admitted to the bars of Colorado and New Mexico. He previously received a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering from New Mexico State University and worked for General Electric.