The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) this week announced the appointment of a veteran land manager as the new Director for the Montana/Dakotas State Office.

John J. Mehlhoff, an executive with the Office of Natural Resource Revenue stationed in Denver, will assume the Billings-based post on May 13, 2019, said Brian Steed, BLM Deputy Director of Policy and Programs.  

John J. Mehlhoff

John J. Mehlhoff, new Director for the BLM Montana/Dakotas State Office.

“We are delighted that John will be coming back to the BLM,” Steed said.  “John began his career with us over 35 years ago, starting out as a petroleum engineer in the Montana. He has built a reputation over time as a well-respected manager and leader, and we are confident he will provide critical leadership to the agency in Montana and the Dakotas.”

As State Director for the Montana and the Dakotas, Mehlhoff will be responsible for BLM’s administration of about 8.3 million acres of federal lands and about 47.2 million acres of federal mineral estate in the three states.

Mehlhoff is a graduate of the Montana College of Mineral Science and Technology in Butte and has 35 years of federal service; almost 30 of those were spent with the BLM.  He has worked as the program lead for the fluid minerals program based in Washington; staff advisor to the assistant secretary; field manager in Meeker, Colo., and Tulsa, Okla.; and associate state director in Colorado.

At the Office of Natural Resources Revenue, also a Department of the Interior agency, Mehlhoff was the program director for Coordination, Enforcement, Valuation, and Appeals, where he directed a number of key areas, including coordinating state and tribal audits, initiating and tracking enforcement actions, performing independent reviews of company appeals, and providing valuation support for mineral production from federal onshore and offshore lands as well as Indian leases.

He is a North Dakota native from a fourth generation mining, farming, and ranching family.  

COVER PHOTO: Drilling an oil well along the Rocky Mountain Front. Fairfield [Montana] Sun Times photo by Darryl L. Flowers