USBR Veteran Brenda W. Burman Nominated as Commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation

If confirmed, Burman would be first ever woman to officially lead the bureau

Last edited 09/29/2021

Date: June 27, 2017

WASHINGTON – Yesterday, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke praised President Donald Trump’s intent to nominate veteran Bureau of Reclamation official Brenda W. Burman as the Commissioner of the Bureau, which is the largest wholesale water supplier in the United States and the nation’s second largest producer of hydroelectric power. If confirmed, Burman would be first ever female to lead the Bureau. From 2006 to 2008, she served as Reclamation’s Deputy Commissioner for External and Intergovernmental Affairs and the Deputy Assistant Secretary.

“Brenda’s depth of knowledge of Western water issues is impressive,” said Secretary Zinke. “Her background includes working with large Western water agencies, non-governmental organizations and Congress. She will be a valuable addition to the Interior team.”

​"​I welcome this opportunity and am thankful for the chance to serve again on the Bureau of Reclamation team," said Brenda Burman. ​​"​The men and woman of Reclamation have helped the West work through our most difficult water issues for over a hundred years. If confirmed, I look forward to working with Secretary Zinke and the administration to solve our most pressing water issues.​"​

As Commissioner, Burman would lead an agency of more than 5,000 employees who help maintain 475 dams and 337 reservoirs that provide more than 30 million acre-feet (10 trillion gallons) of water for 31 million people in the 17 Western states. The Commissioner is also responsible for Reclamation’s maintenance of 53 hydroelectric power plants that generate 40 billion kilowatt hours annually – about 15 percent of the nation’s hydropower – and provides one out of five Western farmers with irrigation water for farmland that is the source of much of the nation's produce.

“Brenda Burman’s deep background in thorny western water issues will serve her well in leading the Bureau of Reclamation,” said Senator Jeff Flake, the Chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Water and Power Subcommittee. “I look forward to her quick confirmation so she can continue the Bureau’s critical work including protecting Lake Mead.”

“Brenda Burman is highly qualified to be the Commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation and I am proud to support her nomination," said U.S. Senator John McCain. "Brenda brings a wealth of knowledge on federal water policy and drought conditions in the West forged through years of service at the Department of Interior and as legislative counsel to former U.S. Senator Jon Kyl, one of the nation’s foremost experts on federal and tribal water law. I encourage my colleagues in the Senate to swiftly confirm her nomination.”

"I applaud President Trump’s outstanding selection of Brenda Burman as Commissioner of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation,” said Arizona Governor Doug Ducey. “Ms. Burman is an experienced water professional. Her two decades of experience and tremendous service to the country – including as deputy commissioner for the Bureau and as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Water and Science, as well as her work with the U.S. Senate on water and energy legislation – affirm the wisdom of this appointment.”

“Brenda Burman is an excellent choice for Commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation. She has the utmost respect and unwavering confidence of those who have worked with her side-by-side for years and has proven time and again her ability to expertly maneuver complex issues day in and day out,” said Congressman Paul A. Gosar D.D.S. “Brenda is no stranger to the Department of the Interior, water issues or the West. She is eminently qualified for this position and I look forward to continue working closely with her following her confirmation.”

“It is difficult to imagine someone more qualified or well-suited to lead the Bureau of Reclamation,” said Southern Nevada Water Authority General Manager John Entsminger. “Having served the water community for many years in a variety of roles, Brenda’s ability to navigate the sometimes turbulent and always complex issues we face in the Western United States is unsurpassed. She will be an asset to the federal government and a resource for the myriad stakeholders who rely upon the Bureau’s leadership and guidance.”

"As someone who has over 10 years experience as a Regional Director with Bureau of Reclamation in two separate Regions, I have seen what it takes to succeed as Commissioner,” said Roger K. Patterson, Assistant General Manager for the Metropolitan Water District of California. “Without a doubt, Brenda has the experience, skills, energy and vision to be a successful. I'm excited about the work she will do and I wish her the best."

“Brenda's knowledge and experience in water development and management along with her personal characteristics of honesty and integrity make her an outstanding nominee to be Commissioner of Reclamation,” said former Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Bob Johnson. “She will provide the leadership needed to help address the complex water management issues of the 21st-century.”

"It is vital to have experienced, committed and knowledgeable leaders who can work cooperatively to solve complicated water issues,” said National Water Resources Association Executive Vice President Ian Lyle. “Ms. Burman has made a career of working collaboratively with diverse interests to resolve complex water issues, both in government and in the private sector. Her character and experience make her an ideal candidate to be Commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation. The National Water Resources Association is honored to offer Ms. Burman our strongest endorsement."
Burman currently serves as the Director of Water Policy for Arizona’s Salt River Project. Prior to that, she worked for the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, The Nature Conservancy, and U.S. Senator Jon Kyl. She earned her Juris Doctor degree from the University of Arizona College of Law and a Bachelor of Arts from Kenyon College.


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