Gardner Continues Fight to Move BLM West
Washington, DC – Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) today spoke on the Senate floor about his proposal to move the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) headquarters to the West.
Gardner has led the charge to relocate BLM’s headquarters to the West and first raised the idea at an Energy and Natural Resources hearing in June of 2016. Gardner spoke to Secretary Zinke about his proposal prior to Zinke’s confirmation. Gardner also brought up the issue publically during Zinke’s confirmation hearing. In May of 2017, Gardner introduced the Bureau of Land Management Headquarters Relocation Act, legislation that would authorize the move of the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) headquarters from Washington, D.C. to one of the following Western states: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, or Wyoming. Congressman Scott Tipton (CO-3) introduced the House companion bill.
(Click here or on the image above to view Gardner’s remarks.)
Remarks as prepared for delivery:
I’ve come to the floor today to applaud Secretary Zinke for taking a bold approach to modernize the Department of Interior.
93% of all federal land is located in the western United States. This map is illustrative of this fact.
Nationwide, the Bureau of Land Management is responsible for managing approximately 700 million acres of federal mineral estate located underground all of the federal land management agencies’ holdings.
However, out west, the BLM is also responsible for administering 245 million acres of federal surface lands, and nearly all of that land is located in the 11 western-most states and Alaska.
Historically, local BLM field offices have been diligent and effective managers of the public land for multiple use - as they are charged to do under the Federal Land Policy and Management Act.
In recent years, directives and management coming from the BLM headquarters in Washington, D.C., have favored deep-pocketed radical special interests over field office decisions and the opinions those who live near and use this land.
Whether it is the withdrawal of mineral leasing or the reduction of grazing permits, the concept of multiple use has fell out of favor with the BLM.
When you don’t live in the communities that are among and surrounded by these lands, it is easy to make decisions that close off energy development or close cattle ranches, because the consequences are felt out west, and not in D.C.
Legislation I have introduced, the BLM Headquarters Relocation Act, would fix that problem.
I was pleased to see within its budget request that the Department of the Interior is planning a modernization of their organization and infrastructure for the next 100 years.
At the top of the list should be relocating the BLM headquarters out West.
Grand Junction, CO is a beautiful place that can accommodate an agency headquarters and has the benefit of a populace that is intimately familiar with public land management policy and decision-making.
Making this agency more accountable to the people who have to deal with its management decisions by putting its headquarters among the land it manages would be a great start to modernizing for the next 100 years.
I look forward to continuing to work with the Department of the Interior to achieve that goal.
Cory Gardner is a member of the U.S. Senate serving Colorado. He sits on the Energy & Natural Resources Committee, the Foreign Relations Committee, the Commerce, Science, & Transportation Committee, and the Budget Committee, and is the Chairman of the Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy and Subcommittee on Energy
354 Russell Senate Office Building, Washington, DC 20515
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