Washington, D.C. – Chair Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) today issued the following statement on the Department of the Interior’s decision to move the Bureau of Land Management’s Headquarters back to Washington, D.C.
“Bringing the Bureau of Land Management’s leadership back to Washington shows the Biden’s administration’s commitment to protecting our public lands and the men and women responsible for them. Taking the headquarters out of the nation’s capital was a debacle from the moment it was announced. The previous administration’s disregard for rational, data-driven justifications and transparent planning made it clear that disrupting the agency was a feature, not a bug. Worst of all was the terrible choices it forced on families, who had to decide between uprooting their families or losing their jobs. Secretary Haaland made the right decision.”
The decision to return the national BLM headquarters to Washington, D.C., comes after significant concerns about the original relocation were raised by agency veterans, current employees, and members of Congress. It also follows a letter from Grijalva to Secretary Haaland from April encouraging her to return BLM headquarters to Washington.
The Trump administration first moved BLM to Grand Junction, Colo., in 2019, after lobbying from former Senator Corey Gardner (R-CO), who faced a competitive re-election campaign. Following the Trump administration’s decision, nearly 87 percent of impacted staff either retired or found other work. A non-partisan government watchdog found that the move to Grand Junction failed to follow key best practices and lacked accountability or metrics for success.
Grijalva has led numerous efforts to shine a light on this waste of taxpayer dollars. The Natural Resources Committee held a hearing on the issue in September of 2019 and followed up with numerous documents requests over several months. A full timeline of information requests is available online here.