President Obama's decision to nominate Michael L. Connor, the Interior Dept.'s Bureau of Reclamation commissioner, as deputy Interior secretary has won praise from key senators.

Connor, whose nomination was sent to the Senate on July 31, has led BuRec since 2009. He was counsel to the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee from 2001 to 2009. Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) calls Connor "a superb choice" for the Interior post. The energy committee's top Republican, Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), said of Connor, "I believe his integrity, work ethic and his ability to solve tough resource-related issues will make him an asset to the [Interior] secretary."

There will be no Senate action on Connor's nomination until after Congress returns in September, but the Wyden and Murkowski comments bode well for him. If confirmed, Connor would succeed David J. Hayes, Interior's No. 2 official from 2009 until the end of June. Hayes is a senior fellow at the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation in Menlo Park, Calif.