Secretary Bernhardt is moving forward with his plans to dismantle the BLM. He is proceeding to functionally eliminate the BLM Headquarters by relocating it to Grand Junction, Colorado and scattering most Washington Office employees to the West, while still expecting them to perform Headquarters functions.
This is the biggest issue to negatively affect the BLM and the multiple-use management of the public lands since most PLF members began their careers and the biggest threat to the efficient and effective implementation of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act since its passage in 1976. The Public Lands Foundation continues to advocate for the retention of the public lands in public hands and managed by well-trained professionals. We continue to maintain that the Secretary’s plans are a terrible idea. If implemented, they will:
- Likely result in a significant “brain drain” of experienced and professional multi-disciplinary staff of senior resource specialists and managers, should many Washington Office employees choose to leave the BLM voluntarily or be forced out by administrative action.
- Significantly constrain the ability for interdisciplinary coordination and collaboration in the development of national-level public land policies in one headquarters office location.
- Centralize all significant land use decisions affecting the public lands administered by the BLM at the Departmental level under political appointees, rather than give local BLM managers greater decision-making responsibilities.
- Reduce the ability of the BLM to coordinate and collaborate at the national level with other federal land and resource management agencies, Congressional staff, and national stakeholder interest groups.
- Shut out certain publics from having a voice in the future management of the public lands and threaten the public’s ability to provide meaningful input into the management of their public lands.
- Make the principles of multiple-use and sustained yield as defined by FLPMA become more difficult to achieve by local managers because of more political influence.
We have chosen to aggressively pursue this threat to the BLM, and that has resulted in travel to D.C. to testify at a Congressional hearing and to brief various Hill staff. Our travel budget is very minimal, and we will need financial support to continue our efforts. Please consider making a donation to assist in this effort. The Board has set a goal to raise $10,000 by the end of this year to cover travel and other costs associated with our advocacy, outreach, and education work. You can support this work by making a tax-deductible donation today!