Should the Bureau of Land Management's HQ Move West?
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by Countable | 2.19.18
Bipartisan lawmakers in Congress are calling for the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) headquarters to be moved from Washington D.C. to one of the 12 Western states where nearly all of the lands it manages are located.
The BLM is responsible for administering recreation areas and wilderness areas, overseeing livestock grazing permits, leases for energy extraction and mining, and managing timberlands. It manages 386,000 square miles of public lands — about one-eighth of the country’s landmass — of which 385,000 square miles are located in the following states: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.
Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) was joined by four other senators in introducing a bill that would require the BLM to come up with a strategy and timeline for moving its headquarters to one of the 12 above states in a way that saves the most taxpayer money. A companion bill in the House introduced by Rep. Scott Tipton (R-CO) has the support of 19 cosponsors, including three Democrats.
Those lawmakers have found an ally in Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke, a native of Montana who previously served in Congress, who has made shifting his agency’s decision-making westward a priority of his tenure.
Proponents of the move argue that federal land managers are out of touch with the areas under they supervise and the impact their decisions have. Detractors argue that the agency is already decentralized — of its 9,000 employees less than 400 are in Washington D.C. — and would have to keep a presence in the Capitol regardless for budget talks.
Should the BLM’s headquarters be moved West? Tell your senators using the Take Action button, then share your thoughts in the comments below!
— Eric Revell
Lawmakers discuss moving BLM bosses west — The Register Guard (AP)
(Photo Credit: BLMOregon via Flickr / Creative Commons)
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