BLM Shakeup Continues With Impact on Oklahoma

Three more top administrators of the Bureau of Land Management have been temporarily reassigned including one in charge of public lands in Oklahoma, Texas and New Mexico.

The move comes after the Interior Department removed three BLM state directors two months ago including New Mexico Director Amy Lueders. She and the Alaska Director Bud Cribley and Colorado Director Ruth Welch were moved to positions at the Fish and Wildlife Service and the Bureau of Reclamation.

Aden Seidlitz, associated director of BLM’s New Mexico state office was temporarily named to replace Lueders as acting state director. He’s been with the BLM since 1983 and will run the state office overseeing 13.5 million acres of public land in New Mexico and parts of Oklahoma, Texas and Kansas.

The BLM shakeup caused a ripple effect. Lueders will remain in New Mexico but as director of the Fish and Wildlife Service Southwest Region based in Albuquerque. The Region 2 office oversees 47 national wildlife refuges in Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona and Texas. The Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge at Lawton is under control of the office.

The man Lueders is replacing, Benjamin Tuggle was reassigned to FWS headquarters as assistant director for science applications. Lueders had been the New Mexico state director since 2015 and some saw her as playing a key role in the Obama BLM development of federal greater sage grouse conservation plans across 10 Western states.