(Reuters) – The U.S. Bureau of Land Management will relocate its headquarters to Washington, D.C., from Colorado, reversing a Trump-era move that the Biden administration said drove hundreds of people out of the agency dedicated to managing federal lands.
The agency released a statement saying that Interior Secretary Deb Haaland made the announcement during Friday’s meeting with BLM workers. Interior, which oversees BLM, is responsible for the announcement.
Two years ago, the Republican Trump Administration said that putting BLM headquarters in West where federal lands most are would help save $50 million for taxpayers and allow officials to be closer to those they serve.
Interior claimed that the West had not seen the promised job creation and that there was a substantial loss in institutional memory and talent due to the hundreds of expulsions.
Interior stated that 41 of the 328 jobs affected by the move were willing to relocate. Only three people relocated to Grand Junction, Colorado.
BLM is responsible for overseeing programs like oil and natural gas drilling, cattle ranching, and recreation. This bureau plays a central role in President Joe Biden’s efforts to combat climate change by managing public lands and expanding renewable energy. It also helps to reduce federal oil and gas leases.
It will keep the Grand Junction office, which it promised to grow as its western headquarters. This apparent concession by Democratic U.S. Senators who tried to protect the bureau’s existence there.
Republicans within Congress were critical of the announcement.
The House Committee on Natural Resources’ senior Republican, U.S. Representative Bruce Westerman, stated that today’s misguided, political decision had nothing to do “with executing good land management” and was instead focused on centralizing and expanding big government.
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