The U.S. Senate confirmed Kathleen Clarke, former director of Utah's Department of Natural Resources, as the new director of the Bureau of Land Management on Dec. 21.
Interior Secretary Gale Norton praised Clarke's appointment. "Kathleen Clarke brings a highly successful record of innovative public lands management to the BLM," Norton said. "Her background and experience will be a tremendous asset in addressing natural resource issues and providing policy direction to this important agency.
Clarke will be responsible for overseeing 262 million surface acres of BLM-managed land located primarily in the West, more than 700 million acres of subsurface mineral estate across the nation, a budget of about $1.8 billion, and the agency's 9,000 employees.
"I am deeply honored to be appointed as director of the BLM," Clarke said. "This is a particularly challenging and important time for our country, and I'm proud to take part in managing our nation's great natural resources."
Clarke has served as executive director of the Utah Department of Natural Resources since 1998. Before that, she served that department as deputy director, starting in 1993. During her tenure with the Department of Natural Resources, Clarke was instrumental in working with the Utah legislature to secure $3 million a year in funding to protect and recover endangered species. She also worked closely with diverse interests to formulate the Great Salt Lake Resource Management Plan, a comprehensive program to conserve the lake's resources.
Clarke also worked for Rep. James V. Hansen (R-Utah) from 1987 to 1993 as director of constituent services and executive director of Rep. Hansen's office of Ogden. Prior to that, she was co-owner of a construction and real estate business in Kaysville. In addition, she served as staff assistant in the Washington, D.C. office of Sen. Wallace F. Bennett (R-Utah).