Gov. Gary Herbert has selected a top Bureau of Land Management official to head the Utah Department of Natural Resources, succeeding longtime Director Mike Styler, who retires June 1.

Logan native Brian Steed is the BLM’s deputy director over policy and programs and also served as chief of staff to Rep. Chris Stewart from 2013 to 2017, when he joined the BLM, serving as its acting head for a time. He is currently listed as “exercising authority of the director” of the agency, which has not had permanent leadership since the arrival of the Trump administration.

“I couldn’t be more excited for the opportunity to join Gov. Herbert’s Cabinet,” Steed said in a prepared statement. “Without question, Utah has some of the nation’s most incredible natural resources. I look forward to working with the talented DNR staff in continuing to wisely steward Utah’s land, wildlife and water.”

DNR employs 1,300 staffers in seven divisions, including Wildlife Resources; Oil, Gas and Mining; State Parks and Recreation; Forestry, Fire and State Lands; Water Resources; Water Rights; and the Utah Geological Survey.

“Brian is not only qualified for this position, he is also passionate about implementing best management practices for Utah’s natural resources,” Herbert said. “His commitment to sound environmental policy will be an integral part of his service in this new role, and I look forward to working with him.

A former deputy attorney for Iron County, Steed holds a doctorate in public policy with an emphasis in environmental policy from Indiana University, Bloomington, and earned a law degree at the University of Utah with a certificate in natural resources and environmental law.

Before joining Stewart’s team in Washington, Steed taught economics at Utah State University, where he remains listed as a fellow with the business school’s Institute of Political Economy. He has co-written papers with other scholars at the Koch-funded institute that argued protective federal land designations are harmful to local economies.

Steed’s appointment must be confirmed by the Utah Senate.