“There is no doubt that the BLM in Washington, DC – like all other land management agencies – should have a leadership presence to ensure they have access to the political, budgetary and decision-making levers to best carry out their mission,” said Haaland in the press release. “In addition, BLM’s robust presence in Colorado and across the west will continue to grow.”
Aside from “core management positions”, the move will not require BLM employees to relocate to Washington. The office employs more than 7,000 people across the country responsible for managing nearly a fifth of the country’s public land, with more than 95 percent of those employees already working outside of Washington, according to the department.
Proponents of the headquarters move had found that the overwhelming majority of the land the office oversees was west of the Mississippi, arguing that its top officials should be closer to the areas affected by their decisions.
Trump administration officials also cited high real estate costs in Washington as the reason for the move, but the Inspector General of the Home Office noted that the Trump administration “never seriously considered” a new lease for the BLM Washington headquarters, near Navy Yard, sign announcing move to Grand Junction.
“Simply put, the evidence showed the Department never seriously considered extending this lease or moving BLM employees to a new business location in the Washington, DC area,” the report said.