US Senator Gardner Releases Details on BLM Move
Senator Gardner, the chief architect of the plan to move the Bureau of Land Management’s HQ to Grand Junction, shares further details of the broad impact BLM relocation will have on Colorado
Washington, D.C. – United States Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO), the chief architect of the plan to move the Bureau of Land Management’s headquarters to Grand Junction, shared a letter from the Department of Interior today revealing more details about the Bureau of Land Management’s headquarters relocating to Grand Junction, Colorado. Gardner’s steadfast commitment to his proposal, along with public legislative action and behind-the-scenes work with key Administration officials, is the reason the BLM’s new home will be in Colorado.
“I am thrilled that the Bureau of Land Management and its senior leadership will be relocating to Grand Junction,” said Senator Gardner. “This is a smart decision that transcends political parties and will generate a positive economic ripple effect through the state of Colorado. I commend the Department of Interior for relocating the Agency closer to the people it serves and the public lands it manages. Government is best when it is closer and more accountable to the American people, and relocating the directorate of the BLM to Western Colorado will ensure our public lands are protected for many future generations to enjoy.”
Note: Full letter available here.
The letter reads in part:
The BLM has thoroughly assessed its existing footprint and operations in Washington, D.C., and the immediate needs of its State Offices across the West to determine the best approach for a meaningful reorganization. From the early stages of the BLM reorganization effort, consistent with feedback from a broad range of States and partners, the BLM has committed that the State Office structure will be maintained. This proposal not only maintains that structure but serves to strengthen the Bureau’s organization at the state level even further.
As Secretary Bernhardt has observed, a meaningful reorganization is not simply about where functions are performed; rather, it is rooted in how changes will better satisfy the needs of the American people. Time and time again, the Secretary has received feedback from Members of Congress, Governors, local officials, and citizens closest to the resources that their BLM State, District, or Field Office is understaffed or lacks resources to support the needs of their constituents. Under our proposal, every Western State will gain additional staff resources. This approach will play an invaluable role in serving the American people more efficiently and advancing the BLM’s multiple-use, sustained yield mission.
The Secretary expended considerable time and effort in reviewing the facts and assessing varying options. As a result of this effort, the Secretary determined the proposed approach should achieve the following objectives:
- Delegating more responsibility down to the field.
- Maximizing services to the American people; and
- Increasing the BLM’s presence closest to the resources the BLM staff manages.
These objectives are achieved through the following actions:
- Maintaining the necessary core D.C. based functions in Washington, D.C.;
- Optimizing the efficiency of some headquarters positions currently based in Washington, D.C. by relocating them to the State Offices across the West that their work supports;
- Allocating certain positions to State Offices to perform State Office functions;
- Establishing a BLM Headquarters in Grand Junction, Colorado (CO).
Each position currently performing headquarters-specific functions both in Washington, D.C., and in the field was assessed and analyzed. A total of 550 positions were evaluated. Of those, 166 headquarters positions are already assigned to locations in the field – this includes positions such as Special Agents, who are part of the BLM’s Office of Law Enforcement and Security directorate, and Horse Wranglers, who are part of the Wild Horse and Burro Program. Of the total 550 positions, 74 will be allocated to the BLM State Offices, leaving 476 positions performing headquarters duties.
Lastly, the BLM Director, Deputy Director of Operations, Assistant Directors, and a few selected members of their staffs, totaling 27 positions, will be located in Grand Junction, Colorado, as part of an initiative to establish the Headquarters.
Colorado: Eighty-five positions, currently in Washington D.C., will be relocated to Colorado. Fifty-four positions will be split between the Colorado State Office and the National Operations Center in Lakewood, Colorado. Twenty-seven positions will be located in the BLM’s Western Headquarters in Grand Junction. Four additional positions will be allocated to the State Office. Colorado has a diverse number of resource needs, ranging from minerals to recreation, while also serving as a hub for the Bureau’s Geographic Information Systems (GIS) projects and priorities. As such, positions from nearly every directorate will be located in the Lakewood offices. This includes the Business and Fiscal Resources Management positions, which will allow both the State and the Bureau to benefit from the development of policies and procedures that directly impact day-to-day operations.
For Colorado, the relocation of these positions will also provide benefits in the transfer of knowledge from senior staff to the next generation through their proximity to State and field office personnel. Relocated staff will be able to provide a shared resource and expertise to support field operations. These employees will be able to take on complex strategic assignments, such as negotiating State Historic Preservation Office protocols and streamlining the policy development and review processes. Having these positions relocated to Colorado will enable these professionals to integrate into existing BLM work groups and networks and improve their functional capabilities.
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 is the Chairman of the Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy