Gov. Mike Leavitt has picked state engineer Robert Morgan to be director of the Utah Department of Natural Resources.
If confirmed by the Utah Senate, Morgan would replace Kathleen Clarke, who recently became director of the Bureau of Land Management.
Morgan, 58, a state employee for more than 32 years, has been director of the state Division of Water Rights since 1985.
"I appreciate Gov. Leavitt's confidence, and I am committed to maintaining the quality of public service we enjoyed under Kathleen Clarke's tenure," Morgan said.
"Bob Morgan is a man of integrity, so this is good news," said Tom Bingham, president of the Utah Manufacturers Association and a former executive of the Utah Mining Association and Utah Farm Bureau.
"He's a wonderful choice," said Mark Walsh, associate director of the Utah Association of Counties.
"He's honest and he's smart," said Zach Frankel, executive director of the Utah Rivers Council. "I can't say I've worked with him very much, but he could be good at running DNR. I'm hopeful that he will balance development with conservation."
Heidi McIntosh, conservation director at the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, said she had never heard of Morgan until Thursday so could offer no opinions on him.
"Our relationship with Kathleen Clarke was nonexistent," she said. "The Department of Natural Resources has not historically reached out to the environmental community. Both sides could do more to build that relationship."