STATEMENT on Biden administration decision to move Bureau of Land Management headquarters back to D.C.

Sep 17, 2021

September 17, 2021

DENVER—The Interior Department announced Friday that it will move the Bureau of Land Management’s national headquarters back to Washington, D.C. It will keep an office open in Grand Junction, Colorado to serve as the agency’s Western headquarters.

The Center for Western Priorities released the following statement from Executive Director Jennifer Rokala:

“Today’s announcement is the first step in fixing the extensive damage the Trump administration wreaked on the Bureau of Land Management.

“It’s clear that moving the agency’s headquarters out of Washington, D.C. was meant to force out career employees and hollow out its leadership. The Bureau of Land Management oversees one-tenth of all lands in the United States, and the American people deserve an agency with a seat at the table when important decisions are being made in Washington. This move will help the agency rebuild and ensure that top Bureau of Land Management officials can bring their concerns directly to lawmakers, Interior Department leadership, and the White House.

“Now the Senate must act swiftly to confirm Tracy Stone-Manning as the Bureau of Land Management’s director. The agency has been without a confirmed director since 2017, and it needs a strong leader to make sure our public lands are managed on behalf of all Americans, and become part of the solution to the climate crisis.” 


  • The Trump administration moved the agency’s national headquarters from D.C. to Grand Junction in 2019, resulting in almost 300 resignations. Of the 40 employees who accepted the transfer, only three had relocated to Grand Junction in June 2021. [Colorado Newsline]
  • Secretary Deb Haaland visited Grand Junction to discuss the headquarters’ fate in July. She said employees were struggling with their work, as many vacancies remained unfilled at that point. [Colorado Public Radio]
  • Trump officials used the strategy of moving federal offices out of D.C. to force employees to quit. [Colorado Public Radio]
  • Breaking up the Bureau of Land Management Headquarters: political stunt will drain agency of expertise and career leadership [Center for Western Priorities]
  • BLM HQ headed back east, GJ to be western headquarters [Grand Junction Daily Sentinel]