Zinke Says Denver or Salt Lake City Under Consideration for BLM Headquarters
There’s a buzz of curiosity in the West as Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke considers possible relocation options for the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) headquarters, a plan that has garnered bipartisan support from elected officials out west.
Speaking to The Salt Lake City Tribune, Zinke named two potential locations for BLM’s headquarters relocation, “perhaps in Salt Lake City or Denver.”
“’We’re certainly looking at where would be the right place,’ Zinke told The Salt Lake Tribune, noting that the ‘preponderance of activity is in the West’ for BLM’s activities.”
Western Wire reported back in April on Denver Mayor Michael Hancock’s (D) support for a possible move to Denver saying, “we’ll take ‘em [BLM].”
Previously three Interior agency departments, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the Bureau of Reclamation (BOR), and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), were reported candidates for a DOI to transfer to the west. E&E News published employee notes from a July meeting attended by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke outlining a possible relocation of the three agencies to the Denver, Colorado area.
“Denver will probably have the headquarters for BLM, FWS, and BOR,” the employees wrote. Any move would not begin until 2019.
The concept of moving the BLM headquarters to the West sprung out of a backlash to the Obama administration’s BLM “Planning 2.0” rule. In January, U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) saw the “Planning 2.0” rule as proof that the agency should be moved out of the nation’s capital and relocated to a Western state.
“Perhaps we could cure some agencies like the BLM of Potomac Fever by moving them out of Washington,” Gardner said in January during Zinke’s confirmation hearing, as first reported by Western Wire.
Senator Gardner has since introduced legislation along with Representative Scott Tipton (R-Colo) to authorize the move of the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) headquarters from Washington, D.C.
Last week, Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah), chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee and six other Republican members of Congress sent a letter to President Trump supporting BLM headquarters relocation to the West.
“Any thoughtful DOI reorganization should give serious consideration to relocating select agencies away from Washington, D.C. and closer to the American people they were created to serve,” the letter read. “Simply put, federal employees should know and live around the people, lands, and economies they regulate.”
The Republican letter echoes sentiments that came from Colorado’s top Democrat, Gov. John Hickenlooper, who told Western Wire earlier this year, “Colorado is home to many employees with the Bureau of Land Management, Fish and Wildlife Service and the Bureau of Reclamation.”
Hickenlooper went on to say, “Their colleagues would receive a warm welcome should Sec. Zinke relocate the entire team to Colorado. It’s an ideal location and having them closer to the resources they manage makes good sense.”
In August, Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) told Western Wire he’s all-in on a relocation plan, “I’m all for it. I’m all for it, I think it would be great. I think anything we can get out of Washington, D.C. and into Colorado, I’m for.”