SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A New Mexico water official has been selected by President Barack Obama to run the Bureau of Reclamation, which manages dams, reservoirs and hydroelectric power plants across the West.
Interior Secretary Sally Jewell issued a statement Thursday praising the president’s plan to nominate Interstate Stream Commission Director Estevan Lopez as commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation.
If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Lopez will administer an agency with a $1 billion budget and more than 5,000 employees.
Lopez has held his current job since 2003. The commission oversees New Mexico’s compliance with interstate water compacts.
Lopez was Santa Fe County manager from 2001 to 2003, and before that held several jobs in the county’s utilities operation. He was an engineer with a state utility regulatory agency from 1990 to 1997.