Bureau of Land Management returns to Washington

Home Secretary Deb Haaland on Friday announced that the Bureau of Land Management would move its seat back to Washington, a reversal of ...


Home Secretary Deb Haaland on Friday announced that the Bureau of Land Management would move its seat back to Washington, a reversal of a heavily criticized decision by the Trump administration to move the agency from public lands to Grand Junction, in the Colorado.

According to data released by the Biden administration earlier this year, more than 87 percent of the agency’s staff, which oversees oil and gas development as well as recreation on millions of acres of federal land, left when its leaders established the new headquarters.

Those who stayed began working in a building shared by Chevron and an oil and gas lobbying association. Critics have argued that the departure of long-time employees was the ultimate motive behind the move, prompted by an administration promising to “empty the swamp” of Washington bureaucrats.

Announcing the return to Washington, Ms Haaland said the past few years had been “incredibly disruptive” for the agency, and said the BLM must have “the right structure and resources” to tackle climate change and expand access to public lands.

“There is no doubt that the BLM should have a prominent presence in Washington, DC, like all other land management agencies, to ensure that it has access to the political, budgetary and decision-making levers to lead to well its mission, ”she said in a statement.

Ms. Haaland said the Grand Junction office will remain intact and “grow and develop as the official western seat of the office.”

Democrats and environmental groups applauded the move. Colorado Democrat Senator Michael Bennet said he was “disappointed” that his state is losing headquarters, but called the creation of a new Western office a “very positive development.”

Republicans called the compromise a waste of federal taxpayer money. Republican Senator Steve Daines from Montana (not Colorado, as a previous article said) accused the Biden administration of taking the agency in the “wrong direction” by pushing away those who make decisions regarding public lands of the resources they manage.

“Obviously, they’re more interested in increasing DC’s bureaucracy than in making government work better for the people,” he said.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Bureau of Land Management returns to Washington
Bureau of Land Management returns to Washington
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