Locals question moving BLM headquarters to Grand Junction, Colorado

The proposed relocation of the national headquarters of the Bureau of Land Management from Capitol Hill to Grand Junction, Colorado is raising questions—even by some in Colorado.

POLITICO’s Morning Energy Report found the local newspaper wonders about the move and how much of an impact it might have on Grand Junction.

LOWERING THE BOOMTOWN: A mere 24 hours after the Interior Department announced it was moving the vast majority of the Bureau of Land Management’s D.C. staff out West, some of the locals are wondering if the news was all it was cracked up to be.

DOI made a big to-do about relocating 27 BLM positions to Grand Junction, Colo., to start a western headquarters, a move that some see partly as a helping hand to Cory Gardner , the state’s Republican senator, a friend of Interior Secretary David Bernhardt and one of the most vulnerable Republicans up for reelection in 2020. The problem? Grand Junction now says that 27 positions doesn’t exactly a headquarters make, according to an editorial in the local newspaper.

Is that all there is? “A day after feeling like this was a game-changer for Grand Junction, the letdown is palpable,” the editors of the town’s Daily Sentinel newspaper write. “We’re stuck between feeling grateful that Grand Junction will be known as the BLM’s Western Headquarters and frustrated that such a distinction has been hollowed out to its barest impact.” The move could spur growth, the editorial continues, but “we’re used to seeing exciting developments fizzle around here. That’s how the Interior Department’s reorganization feels at the moment.”

Math questions: The House Appropriations Committee says it still has questions about the proposed move, as Interior didn’t brief the committee before the announcement. “Appropriations Committee staff members identified areas where more information is needed and are submitting questions to the Department,” committee Democrats said in a press release. “Concerns about costs, employee relocation, and more must be addressed to ensure that any outcome is in the best interests of the American people and Bureau employees.”