It’s time to move the BLM west

Moving the Bureau of Land Management west is a commonsense idea supported by Coloradans and Westerners who understand Washington does not always know what’s best for our local communities.

It is a simple proposal that recognizes 99 percent of the nearly 250 million acres of land managed by BLM is west of the Mississippi River, and having the decision-makers present in the communities they impact will lead to better policy.

With partisanship on the rise in Washington, it has become increasingly difficult to achieve real results that will benefit the American people. Representatives in both parties too often view proposed legislation through a partisan lens and end up voting along party lines; but my legislation to move the BLM west does not have to succumb to the same fate as so many other partisan proposals.

In my conversations with the people who are most affected by BLM decisions, the people living on the Western Slope of Colorado, I’ve found it does not matter if they are a Republican, a Democrat, or unaffiliated, they view moving the BLM west as a way to make their voices heard and have a say in their own future.

Both Republican and Democrat elected officials in Colorado have stated support for this proposal. The Trump Administration, including Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has signaled support for this proposal; and Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Dean Heller (R-Nevada), Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), and Steve Daines (R-Mont.) are fighting alongside me in the Senate to make this a reality.

More importantly, everyday Coloradans, county officials, and Colorado organizations, including Montezuma County, Hinsdale County, the Grand Junction Chamber of Commerce, and Club 20, among others, all have voiced their support for this proposal. Now, it is up to every Coloradan and American to rally together and convince my colleagues in Washington to support this commonsense plan.

Every U.S. senator representing a Western state should want to give their constituents a louder voice when it comes to a federal agency’s decision-making process that directly impacts their constituents’ everyday lives. Every national organization whose members are impacted by BLM rules and regulations needs to get involved in this fight. The Colorado Farm Bureau and Colorado Cattlemen Association have proven they are national leaders on this issue, and it is time for organizations across the country to follow their lead.

As your senator, I will continue to fight for what’s in the best interest of Coloradans, but I can’t do it alone. The best chance for this legislation to become a reality is if we can make it clear there is overwhelming bipartisan support to get this done. I have introduced the bill in the Senate and Rep. Scott Tipton (Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District) has introduced companion legislation in the House. I recently raised the issue at a Senate hearing with Interior Secretary Zinke and will continue to press him on this matter. Now, I look forward to working with my constituents in Colorado and colleagues in the Senate to see this proposal become a reality and show the American people Washington does have the ability to get out of the way and return the power to the people.

By:  Senator Cory Gardner
Source: Grand Junction Daily Sentinel