The Interior Department under this administration is relocating the BLM’s headquarters out of Washington, DC to Grand Junction, Colorado along with 27 employees. These include the currently vacant Bureau Director position (President Trump has not nominated anyone to fill the Director’s position), the career Deputy Director for Operations, and all Assistant Directors plus some support staff. This relocation is a thinly veiled attempt to dismantle the BLM headquarters and diminish its effectiveness as an organization. The Friends do not support this poorly conceived relocation.
The Friends support the Public Lands Foundation efforts to oppose the BLM reorganization. PLF notes in its letter to Congress:
The BLM already is organizationally aligned to have office locations that provide for the appropriate coordination necessary to make sound resource management decisions. The western offices of the BLM provide the operational function for the organization. The decentralized nature of the BLM allows for efficient and timely responses to western constituents. Approximately 97 percent of the BLM employees are currently located on-the-ground in Field, District, and State Offices to make land use decisions based on public interest, resource conditions, cooperating agency concerns, and BLM policy.
The BLM headquarters located in Washington, D.C. houses about 3 percent of the BLM employees. The Directorate and professional support staff develop national policy and regulations, prepare and manage the budget, and provide program oversight to assure efficient and consistent management across the agency. This work requires coordination and daily interaction with multiple agencies, departments, OMB, the White House, and Congressional members.
The PLF does not support the relocation of the BLM headquarters leadership and what appears to be over 80 percent of the headquarters professional staff to locations throughout the west. This reorganization proposal will result in a weak and ineffective management structure, a loss of national coordination and oversight capability, a loss of consistent agency policy development and implementation, and a subrogation of national interests to powerful local interests.
Most PLF members have seen a variety of reorganization efforts. For the most part they have proven to be very disruptive and costly and in the end were found to be problematic and were reversed by the next administration. As an organization, the PLF would ask that this proposal be rescinded. There is no apparent goal other than dismantling the BLM headquarters.
If you decide to send letters, please do so before the upcoming House Committee on Natural Resources hearing scheduled for September 10. Let us know if you need addresses for your representatives.
Thanks for your support!
Friends of the San Pedro River