An announcement is expected to be made sometime in September regarding where the big federal Bureau of Land Management will locate its new headquarters.
Managing over 380,000 square miles of land in the dozen states making up the West, including national parks and monuments, the bureau has long said that it wanted to center its activities in the states where its policies have the most direct impact.
What state will actually end up being the new home to the BLM is currently an unanswered question, although speculation has included Arizona, Colorado, and New Mexico.
In a statement, Colorado Senator Cory Gardner lauded the announcement of the BLM’s plans to locate somewhere in the West, noting that it will mean that the “decision-makers can live amongst the people and land their rules and regulations effect.”
An agency operating under the auspices of the U.S. Department of the Interior, the BLM also oversees many public lands that are rich in coal, natural gas, and oil.
The BLM move to the West is not universally supported.
A non-profit group called the Public Lands Foundation, which advocates in favor of preserving public lands, has issued a statement saying the move is unnecessary, arguing that the vast majority of the BLM’s staff is already working in the agency’s state offices in the West.
“The perception that most BLM decisions are made in the Washington office, far removed from local communities, local interests, and the States, is simply not based on the facts,” the group asserts.
It is thought that a new BLM headquarters it will cost nearly $14 million to build.
By Garry Boulard
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