Rep. Boebert Leads Effort to Ensure BLM Headquarters Remains in Grand Junction
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 26, 2021
Rifle, CO - Today, U.S. Congresswoman Lauren Boebert (CO-03) released the following statement after leading an effort to ensure the Bureau of Land Management’s headquarters remains in Grand Junction, Colorado.
“Moving the BLM Headquarters to Grand Junction was a game changer for the West and local communities. People from nearby states that would have never traveled to Washington D.C. for a meeting have already found their way to Grand Junction including sheriffs, ranchers, and county commissioners. Customer service has improved, better decisions are being made in the field and taxpayers will save millions of dollars annually. What’s not to like?
“It only makes sense to have the people managing hundreds of millions of acres of land located near that land and accessible to those communities. The Bureau of Land Management’s move West is a win for all Americans. I urge the Biden administration to work with the bipartisan Colorado delegation and other Members of Congress that support keeping the headquarters in Grand Junction to ensure it continues to be a success.”
Today, U.S. Congresswoman Lauren Boebert (CO-03) led a joint House letter to President Biden to ensure the Bureau of Land Management’s headquarters remains in Grand Junction, Colorado.
The letter was signed by 22 Members of Congress including: Representatives Brian Babin (TX-36), James R. Baird (IN-04), Andy Biggs (AZ-05), Lauren Boebert (CO-03), Ken Buck (CO-04), Mo Brooks (AL-05), Jerry Carl (AL-01), Ben Cline (VA-06), Michael Cloud (TX-27) Tom Emmer (MN-06, Pat Fallon (TX-04), Louie Gohmert (TX-01), Paul Gosar (AZ-04), Jody Hice (GA-10), Doug LaMalfa (CA-01), Doug Lamborn (CO-05), Dan Newhouse (WA-04), Jay Obernolte (CA-08), Scott Perry (PA-10), Jason Smith (MO-08), Randy Weber (TX-14), Don Young (AK-At Large).
On August 10, 2020, the Department of the Interior formally established the Bureau of Land Management headquarters in Grand Junction, Colorado. Prior to this relocation, the agency’s headquarters was located thousands of miles away from the land and people most directly impacted by the Bureau’s management decisions.
Previous Department of the Interior Secretary David Bernhardt and agency officials, including career employees, deserve a lot of credit for accomplishing this historic task and for the manner in which they went about it. Not one employee was removed from the Department as a result of the move West. The agency found jobs for people that wanted to stay in Washington D.C. and provided resources to help others make the move West.
The establishment of the headquarters in Grand Junction has reduced the number of long cross-country flights, improved training, delegated more responsibility to employees in the field, improved customer service and coordination with local communities, ensured better decisions earlier in the decision-making process, reduced commute times for employees, and provided good-paying local jobs.
The move has already started to benefit taxpayers. The agency estimates it will save more than $2 million in fiscal year 2021 in lease costs and $1.9 million in salary savings annually based on locality pay. DOI has also reported that it saved $1.9 million on travel costs in fiscal year 2020.
The move West has resulted in hundreds of jobs moving to Western states including more than 80 jobs in Colorado. The posting of western BLM jobs also drew a larger volume of highly-skilled applicants than what the agency would traditionally receive in Washington D.C.
Any misguided effort to move the Bureau back to D.C. would have significant costs and could negatively impact employees, many of whom recently uprooted their lives and excitedly moved West. Furthermore, there is no identified location to move them back to as the M Street location no longer exists.
According to U.S. News and World Report, Colorado offers four of the five best places to live in the United States. Colorado has amenities that attract and retain a highly educated and productive workforce. Grand Junction was selected for the headquarters because of its substantial cost savings, travel accessibility, quality of life attributes, and increased representation among the communities affected by land management decisions.
The Grand Junction community has welcomed Bureau of Land Management staff and many neighbors have dropped by the new headquarters to express their gratitude, some even bringing baked goods with them.
Housing the Bureau of Land Management Headquarters in Grand Junction, Colorado, has consistently enjoyed bipartisan support.