Concerns over BLM headquarters move

17 Juillet, 2019, 09:54 | Auteur: Therese Cote
  • Bureau of Land Management Logo

While some say the Bureau of Land Management moving to Grand Junction will create a lot of opportunity for the area, a group out of Denver says there were problems with how the move was finalized. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., arrives at the Senate Chamber for an abbreviated pro-forma session at the Capitol in Washington.

Ellis dismissed the argument that Bureau of Land Management staff will make better decisions if the headquarters is in the West, saying 95% of the agency's staff is already in field offices.

The number of bureau jobs moving West appeared to be relatively small.

A Bureau of Land Management spokeswoman who declined to give her name said she couldn't confirm or deny the move. An announcement about the agency's plans was expected Tuesday.

The department said about 85 jobs would be shifted to Colorado, with majority going to Lakewood, where the federal government has a large campus with regional offices for several agencies, including the Bureau of Land Management. "This is a victory for local communities, advocates for public lands and proponents for a more responsible and accountable federal government".

Bishop said public lands decisions would be made in the West, "not by bureaucrats from thousands of miles away". Those lands produce oil, gas and coal, and ranchers graze livestock on them as well.

"Putting BLM headquarters down the road from Secretary Bernhardt's hometown just makes it easier for special interests to walk in the door demanding favors without congressional oversight or accountability", Grijalva said.

A letter from the BLM to Senators says 85 federal jobs will move to the state, and 27 of those will physically come here to Grand Junction.

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Key details of the move were unknown, including how much it would cost, how many employees would remain in Washington and, most importantly, whether the move would have a significant impact on land-management decisions or would be more a symbol of the administration's determination to decentralize the bureau.

Bill Stringer, a Uintah County, Utah, commissioner and retired Bureau of Land Management employee, said it's a good idea to put more agency employees "closer to where the action is" and in the same time zone as numerous ranchers who seek permits on public land.

Bishop and other top Utah politicians pushed hard for Ogden to be the Interior Department's realistic relocation choice with its Forest Service presence and it serving as home to a regional IRS Center, in addition to an eclectic mix of outdoor businesses.

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, a Democrat, welcomed the change but reminded the Trump administration that he and other Democrats want the president to do more to protect the environment and recreational access on public lands.

Interior Department officials have said they also considered Denver, Salt Lake City, Albuquerque, and Boise, Idaho, for the new headquarters.

Former Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke initiated the plan to reorganize his department.

Zinke stepped down in January amid ethics allegations, and his successor, David Bernhardt, continued the planning but with less fanfare.

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