Reclamation nominee wins mostly acceptance and a little wait-and-see
President Donald Trump’s nomination of a Bureau of Reclamation veteran to head the agency with primary responsibility on the Colorado River won the endorsement of U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton and a cautious reaction from U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner, both Republicans.
Brenda Burman is an excellent choice with a strong background in Western water issues, Tipton’s office said.
Much of the river’s course in Colorado runs through Tipton’s 3rd Congressional district.
“There is no question that Ms. Burman has significant expertise and history in Western water issues, particularly in the Colorado River Basin,” Gardner said in a statement. “Colorado’s multiple rivers are important to our state, and I look forward to meeting with Ms. Burman to discuss our state’s priorities and challenges as they relate to water.”
Burman has seen water issues from multiple angles — municipal, agricultural, environmental — said James Eklund, Colorado’s representative to the Upper Colorado River Commission.
While her experience is in the lower Colorado River Basin, “she appreciates our state-led dynamic in the Upper Basin as well as our headwaters status and the challenges our variable supply represents,” Eklund said.
Burman has a “deep background and a great reputation in the Colorado River basin — and beyond,” said Chris Treese, spokesman for the Colorado River Water Conservation District. “She is the one nominee from this administration who should be confirmed easily and unanimously.”
Arizona’s senators, Jeff Flake and John McCain, both Republicans, also praised her, Flake saying, “I look forward to her quick confirmation so she can continue the bureau’s critical work, including protecting Lake Mead.”
Burman is currently the director of water policy for the Arizona Salt River Project and before that she worked for the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, The Nature Conservancy, and U.S. Senator Jon Kyl, R-Ariz.
She served as Reclamation’s deputy commissioner for external and intergovernmental affairs and as deputy assistant secretary.