GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. – Relocating the BLM Headquarters back to Washington D.C. has been met with mixed reactions from agencies directly affected by it.
This resolution comes just one year after Trump’s Administration relocated the headquarters to Grand Junction, closer to Western communities and the land it’s designed to serve,
“I think there’s a loss of the connection to the land when you move further away from it,” says Colorado Oil and Gas Association’s Chelsie Miera.
The Colorado Oil and Gas Association continues to explain just how much the BLM’s presence impacted the West,
“It helped expedite decision making; there’s so many parties that come together to solve complex problems on our federal lands, whether that be wildfire mitigation, or fresh water resources for helicopters to pick up and dump on fires; you see the wild horse issue, maintaining and protecting crucial habitat and really interesting plant species that are rare,” explains Miera.
On one side of the aisle, agencies believe this move is a betrayal of rural America and its public lands, while the other thinks the best resolution is to restore leadership where the decisions are actually made,
“This is an effort to rebuild an agency that was broken by the Trump Administration, and this is an effort to make sure that the Bureau of Land Management and America’s public lands have a seat at the table in Washington,” says the Center for Western Priorities’ Aaron Weiss.
The Center for Western Priorities believes the Headquarter’s initial move out West did nothing but complicate the agency.
While the Trump Administration’s plan was to relocate over 300 positions out West,
Approximately 90 percent of the federal workers refused to move to Grand Junction, with 3 out of 41 of the employees ordered to do so actually relocating,
“When you’re at the Bureau of Land Management, you have to work closely with the Forest Service, which is part of the Agriculture Department, you have to work with the Parks Service with fish and wildlife, with the secretary’s office with Interior; all of that is happening in Washington,” continues Weiss.
though the move will change the organization’s presence out west, it will not close the BLM’s office in Grand Junction. The Department of Interior’s Deb Haaland has decided to keep a “Western Headquarters”, in hopes that the BLM can continue to expand in Colorado.