Interior Secretary Deb Haaland announced her plans Friday to return the Bureau of Land Management national headquarters to Washington, DC, after it had been relocated under the Trump administration.
The headquarters of the BLM — which is part of the Interior Department and controls 245 million acres of federal lands — was moved to Grand Junction, Colorado, during the last administration after having been in Washington for decades, with state-level offices spread across the country. As part of that Trump-era reorganization, the bureau moved some employees to the headquarters in Colorado, while others were moved to state offices.
That move, the Interior Department said Friday, “failed to deliver promised jobs across the West and drove hundreds of people out of the agency.”
As part of the new plan detailed Friday, the current Grand Junction office “will grow and expand as the bureau’s official Western headquarters,” the department said.
Key leadership positions, including the bureau director, will be moved to the national headquarters in Washington “to ensure coordination with Congress, other federal agencies, and stakeholders that visit Washington, D.C.,” according to the agency, while other senior personnel will work out of the Western headquarters.
“The headquarters transition will be conducted with a goal of minimizing further disruption to employees and their families. Outside of the aforementioned core leadership positions, the BLM does not plan to require employees to relocate,” the Interior Department underscored.
“There’s no doubt that the BLM should have a leadership presence in Washington, D.C. — like all the other land management agencies — to ensure that it has access to the policy-, budget-, and decision-making levers to best carry out its mission. In addition, the BLM’s robust presence in Colorado and across the West will continue to grow,” Haaland said in a statement.
“The past several years have been incredibly disruptive to the organization, to our public servants, and to their families. As we move forward, my priority is to revitalize and rebuild the BLM so that it can meet the pressing challenges of our time, and to look out for our employees’ well-being,” the secretary added.
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