Monday, May 08, 2017

Gardner: ‘Western food fight’ possible over moving BLM headquarters

A “Western food fight” could break out over exactly where the Bureau of Land Management’s national headquarters should be located if U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner succeeds in his push to get the office moved out West, he concedes. But the Republican from Colorado told The Daily Sentinel in an interview that he still thinks Grand Junction is well positioned to compete for the office if legislation he introduced this week becomes law. For months, Gardner has been pushing the idea of moving the BLM’s headquarters from Washington to the West. Ninety-nine percent of the land the agency manages is located in the West, and Gardner believes national-level BLM decision-makers should be located near the lands and people their decisions affect. Specifically, he is backing a move to Grand Junction because of factors such as the city’s relatively easy access by air and Interstate 70, and proximity to a large amount of BLM land. Such a move would transfer hundreds of jobs to the city chosen for the headquarters. The bill Gardner introduced this week calls for the Interior secretary to develop a strategy to move the headquarters to the West “in a manner that will save the maximum amount of taxpayer money practicable.” The strategy would have to include things such as metrics for choosing a location and a timeline. U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Colo., is pushing a companion House bill. Gardner’s bill doesn’t specifically call for the national office to be moved to Grand Junction...more

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