STATEMENT on proposal to dismantle Bureau of Land Management headquarters

Jul 16, 2019

July 16, 2019

DENVER—According to a letter from the Interior Department, Secretary David Bernhardt is proposing a sweeping reorganization of the Bureau of Land Management, relocating its official headquarters to Grand Junction, Colorado and reassigning hundreds of DC-based employees to other cities across the West. In response, the Center for Western Priorities released the following statement from Executive Director Jennifer Rokala:

“This isn’t an effort to move the Bureau of Land Management headquarters, it’s an attempt to dismantle it altogether. While only a couple dozen people will be sent to Grand Junction, nearly three hundred others will be scattered in offices throughout the West.

“Secretary Bernhardt is asking families to uproot their lives in a matter of months or possibly lose their jobs, all for a PR stunt. It’s yet another cynical attempt to drain the Interior Department of expertise and career leadership. Our public lands deserve an agency that is effectively coordinating with the Interior Department more broadly, and with Congress. 

“When it comes to managing our public lands, it looks like Secretary Bernhardt wants to make sure the BLM’s left hand can’t talk to the right.”

According to the letter sent by the Interior Department to Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairwoman Lisa Murkowski, 323 of the 384 BLM employees currently based in the Washington D.C. headquarters would be moved to offices across the West. Just 27 of those relocating would be based in the Grand Junction office (only 8 percent of the positions moving). The remaining 296 positions would be scattered across the West, with 74 reporting to state BLM directors.   

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