Interior to move BLM headquarters back to DC
Interior Secretary Deb Haaland announced Friday that the leadership of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will be moved back to Washington from Grand Junction, Colo., where the Trump administration had moved the BLM headquarters.
The Bureau of Land Management is critical to the nation’s efforts to address the climate crisis, expand public access to our public lands, and preserve our nation’s shared outdoor heritage,” Haaland said in a statement after speaking to BLM employees.
“It is imperative that the bureau have the appropriate structure and resources to serve the American public,” Haaland said.
“There’s no doubt that the BLM should have a leadership presence in Washington, D.C. — like all the other land management agencies — to ensure that it has access to the policy–, budget–, and decision-making levers to best carry out its mission. In addition, the BLM’s robust presence in Colorado and across the West will continue to grow.”
Haaland added that the BLM presence in Grand Junction will continue and grow.
But she also noted said that the Trump administration’s move “failed to deliver promised jobs across the West and drove hundreds of people out of the agency. Of the 328 positions moved out of Washington, D.C., only 41 of the affected people relocated, with three moving to Grand Junction. This led to a significant loss of institutional memory and talent. The headquarters transition will be conducted with a goal of minimizing further disruption to employees and their families. Outside of the aforementioned core leadership positions, the BLM does not plan to require employees to relocate.”
The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) and Public Lands Council (PLC) condemned the decision.
“More than 5.5 million acres of land have burned in catastrophic wildfires so far this year,” said NCBA Executive Director of Natural Resources and PLC Executive Director Kaitlynn Glover.
“From Arizona to Minnesota, 14 states are experiencing extreme drought that has thrown thousands of rural communities into crisis. In a normal season, we would find this relocation decision disappointing — in the middle of immense and immediate threats to public lands ecosystems, wildlife, businesses and residents, it is dangerously irresponsible,” Glover said.
“Unfortunately, the BLM’s operations suffered as a result of their move to Grand Junction, Colo., and the subsequent uncertainty due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Implementing another move now, when the time and attention of the BLM staff is more needed than ever, is a step western communities cannot afford. The BLM should be prioritizing time-sensitive land management improvements, not playing political football with their mailing address.”
–The Hagstrom Report
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