Lifetime Service Award - 1996

James P. Beirne
James P. Beirne

The Public Lands Foundation has awarded James P. Beirne its outstanding Public Lands Service Posthumous Award.  This award is given for the purpose of perpetuating and enhancing the proud tradition of Public Service in the Bureau of Land Management and in recognizing Jim’s substantial contributions to the improved well-being of the public lands.

James P Beirne devoted his life to the administrative aspects of management and protection of public lands,  Jim started to work for the federal government in 1938 in the Housing Administration, moved to the Interior Department in 1945 and retired from the Bureau of Land Management in 1972, after 27 years with BLM as the Assistant Director for Administration.

The implementation phase of program development is where Jim Beirne made his mark on the management of the public lands.  His sense of timing and method of presentation was unique.  Also, the Department and Congressional committees held Jim in the highest esteem because of his honesty and respect for the legislative process.  He had instant access to both the legislative and appropriations committees as well as the Bureau of the Budget and OMB.  Because of his ability to timely use this access the BLM was able to acquire additional resources to accomplish such national programs as the Interagency Fire Center, Alaska Pipeline EIS and subsequent management, the designation of the California Desert, the Wild Horse and Burro program, the Accelerated Public Works and Law Enforcement Programs, and implementation of the National Environmental Policy Act.

Jim was the focal point for the leasing of oil and gas reserves on the Outer Continental Shelf.  He set up the leasing procedures, was responsible for the designation of leasing blocks, advertising of the sales, and the subsequent sale and lease issuance.  The revenues derived from this activity were second only to the IRS in money deposited in the Treasury.

Mr. Beirne was one of the most demanding supervisors in the BLM Directorate, and at the same time one of the most compassionate.  A review of the list of personnel who have worked for and were influenced by Jim would include the names of many of the top managers in the Bureau.

Mr. Beirne was also responsible for developing and implementing the Bureau’s program, budget and accounting system.  The Bureau was the first agency in the Department and third in the entire federal government to comply with the Budget and Accounting Act of 1956. With only a few refinements, the system has been in full use for over 30 years.

James P Beirne died in 1992.  This Lifetime Service Award was presented posthumously at the PLF’s Annual Meeting in Denver, Colorado in September, 1996.