Alaska BLM chief takes Washington job

Posted: Thursday, May 09, 2002

FAIRBANKS (AP) -- The Alaska director of the Bureau of Land Management has been named a deputy director of the federal agency nationwide.

Fran Cherry, who has been in his Alaska post since May 1999, will move to Washington, D.C. to work for Kathleen Clarke, whom President Bush appointed to run the agency. Congress confirmed her appointment in December.

As deputy director for operations, Cherry will handle day-to-day workings of the agency, said BLM spokesman Rem Hawes. Cherry will oversee 300 employees in Washington and about 9,600 elsewhere, mostly in western states.

''He's going to be the senior career professional person in the agency,'' Hawes said.

In Alaska, Cherry has overseen preparation for the next oil lease sale in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, on the North Slope. The June 3 auction will offer drilling rights on 3 million acres in the northeast portion of the reserve, said Danielle Allen, spokeswoman for the BLM in Anchorage.

Cherry arrived in Alaska just days after the last NPRA sale, held May 5, 1999.

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