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BLM Headquarters Belongs Out West


WASHINGTON, D.C.,
September 17, 2021

Today, the U.S. Department of the Interior announced it will be relocating the main Bureau of Land Management (BLM) headquarters from Grand Junction, Colo. to Washington, D.C. and establishing a second headquarters in Colorado. 

“Today’s misguided, partisan decision has nothing to do with executing good land management and everything to do with centralizing and growing big government. A two-quarterback BLM system with one headquarters in D.C. and another headquarters in Colorado will layer bureaucracies, further confusing and complicating an already confused and complicated agency. A Friday afternoon audible to reverse a move that would save millions of taxpayer dollars and put employees closer to the people affected by their decisions is another bad play call by a Biden administration already on the hot seat. Unfortunately American farmers, ranchers and all the rural communities that rely on public lands are the ones who bear the brunt of the confusion. I strongly oppose the administration’s decision and urge them to reconsider and actually listen to what the communities out west need most.” – House Committee on Natural Resources Ranking Member Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.)

“The fight to keep the Bureau of Land Management in Grand Junction was always bipartisan, but when it came down to the wire, Senators Bennet and Hickenlooper folded and failed to stand up for Colorado by using procedural tools to leverage the Biden regime to keep the main Bureau of Land Management headquarters, Director, and senior leadership in Grand Junction. The junior senator from Michigan held up eight high-level Department of Defense nominations to leverage a win for his state, but Bennet and Hickenlooper combined couldn’t find the courage to place a hold on just one nominee. As usual, these politicians’ promises were nothing more than empty words. I hope they will be vigilant in ensuring the rug isn’t pulled out from under them and that the new promises the Biden regime made them materialize. These new Grand Junction jobs need to be delivered, people should know about them and what they are, and the details shouldn’t be changed later. Today’s rushed decision isn’t about helping western communities. It is clearly a partisan attack targeting President Trump’s administration. It hasn’t been thought-out, and important questions have yet to be answered, including where will employees that move back to D.C. work? As the Department of the Interior is essentially empty currently, when will these employees go back to in-person work? How many employees will move to D.C. and Grand Junction? What employees will move to D.C. and Grand Junction? Where will the employees that move to D.C and Grand Junction move from? When will impacted employees receive written notice? Given the lack of detail and information provided for this reprogramming, appropriators should immediately reject this political, partisan move that isn’t in the best interest of the agency or its employees. From my first days in Congress, I have done everything I can to keep the Bureau headquarters in Grand Junction. While I’m disappointed with today’s decision and the details are light, this could still ultimately be a win for Grand Junction and the West as a western headquarters will remain in Grand Junction, more jobs will move to Grand Junction, and all the jobs that moved out West won’t be moved back to D.C.” – U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.)

Background

In 2019, BLM Acting Director William Perry Pendley announced that BLM headquarters would be relocating to Grand Junction, Colo. This decision was largely based in the fact that 99 percent of the lands managed by the BLM are located west of the Mississippi River and 97 percent of BLM employees already lived in the western United States. Office of Management and Budget analysis also showed moving the BLM headquarters west would save the American taxpayer more than $123.8 million over 20 years. 

This move received bipartisan support at the time, and even as recently as Sept. 9, 2021, the House Committee on Natural Resources unanimously passed an amendment in support of keeping the headquarters in Grand Junction. 

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