WASHINGTON, D.C. – Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell today praised President Obama's intent to nominate Estevan López, a professional engineer with over two decades of experience in water resource management, to serve as Commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation -- the largest wholesale water supplier and second largest producer of hydroelectric power in the United States. The U.S. Senate confirmed former Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Michael Connor to serve as the Deputy Secretary of the Interior on February 27, 2014.
“Reclamation provides critically important water and power resources to the West, helping local economies and preserving natural resources and ecosystems that face complex challenges, from the impacts of drought and climate change to the preservation of wildlife,” Secretary Jewell said. “With decades of dedicated public service to the people of New Mexico and five years in private industry, Estevan's professional expertise, water management experience and collaborative approach will be valuable assets as we work to manage, develop and protect water resources for the American people.”
If confirmed by the U. S. Senate, López would lead an agency with a $1 billion annual budget and more than 5,000 employees in 17 Western States. The bureau maintains 476 dams and 337 reservoirs that provide 10 trillion gallons of water for 31 million people. Reclamation also maintains 53 hydropower plants that generate 40 billion kilowatt hours – about 15 percent of nation's hydropower. Reclamation's 289 recreation areas received 90 million visits last year.
Estevan R. López is currently the Director of the New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission, a position he has held since 2003. From 2001 to 2003, Mr. López served as County Manager of Santa Fe County. Prior to that, he served as the Land Use and Utilities Department Director of Santa Fe County from 2000 to 2001. Mr. López also served as the Utilities Department Director of Santa Fe County from 1998 to 2000 and as Utilities Division Deputy Director of Santa Fe County from 1997 to 1998. From 1990 to 1997, he was a Public Utility Engineer at the New Mexico Public Utility Commission. Previously, Mr. López worked at Arco Alaska, Inc. as an Operations Engineer and then a Well Work Supervisor. He received a B.S. from the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology.
Lowell Pimley is serving as the Acting Commissioner until the U.S. Senate has confirmed a replacement. Pimley, a civil engineer who joined Reclamation in 1980, was the Deputy Commissioner of Operations for the Bureau of Reclamation before being asked to serve as Acting Commissioner and was previously the Director of the Technical Service Center and has spent his career conducting and coordinating planning studies, design and construction support on a variety of water resources and related projects.