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Fri Sep 17, 2021, 07:14 PM

Bureau of Land Management headquarters to return to D.C., reversing Trump decision

Source: Washington Post


Interior Secretary Deb Haaland delivers remarks during the opening ceremony of “In America: Remember,” a public art installation commemorating all the Americans who have died due to covid-19, on Sept. 17 near the Washington Monument in D.C. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)


The Interior Department will summon the far-flung headquarters of the Bureau of Land Management back to Washington from the mountains of western Colorado, reversing a move by the Trump administration that caused upheaval within the agency and led to nearly 90 percent of the former headquarters staff to retire, quit or leave for other jobs.Interior Secretary Deb Haaland broke the news to BLM staffers on a phone call Friday afternoon, before the announcement was made public in a statement shortly afterward.

Haaland said the agency will create a new “Western headquarters” in Grand Junction, Colo. During the staff call, Haaland said her “primary concern has always been for your well being and to restore the effectiveness of the BLM’s operations.” “I know the past few years have been difficult for many of you. The relocation of the BLM headquarters scattered employees and programs across the West, driven others out of the agency, and put enormous stress on those who remained,” Haaland said, according to the call heard by The Washington Post.

Haaland and other BLM leaders have been surveying employees about the headquarters move to Grand Junction, which was completed last year at the end of the Trump administration. The move led to widespread stress and frustration among headquarters staff in Washington, who were given a deadline of last summer to move to rural Colorado or other Western cities, or lose their jobs, despite the pandemic. Of the 328 positions that were slated to move out of Washington, 287 employees either retired or quit for other jobs, Haaland noted during a visit to Grand Junction in July.

Just three people ultimately ended up relocating to Grand Junction, she told reporters at the time, and the headquarters ended up with more than 80 vacancies.The Trump administration justified the move, saying the vast majority of the public lands managed by the BLM is in the Western United States and the move would put leadership closer to that land. But current and former employees have said they believe the intention was to weaken the agency that does environmental assessments and regulates fossil fuel and other energy interests.

Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-environment/2021/09/17/bureau-land-management-headquarters-return-dc-reversing-trump-decision/

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Reply Bureau of Land Management headquarters to return to D.C., reversing Trump decision (Original post)
BumRushDaShow Sep 17 OP
El Supremo Sep 17 #1
Red Mountain Sep 17 #2
Irish_Dem Sep 18 #32
abqtommy Sep 17 #3
BumRushDaShow Sep 17 #5
iluvtennis Sep 17 #4
Earthrise Sep 17 #6
Paladin Sep 17 #7
calimary Sep 17 #12
cstanleytech Sep 17 #8
crickets Sep 18 #19
AverageOldGuy Sep 17 #9
BumRushDaShow Sep 17 #10
Pas-de-Calais Sep 17 #16
BumRushDaShow Sep 18 #21
BigmanPigman Sep 17 #11
TheJillMill Sep 17 #13
LeftInTX Sep 17 #17
BidenRocks Sep 17 #14
Tikki Sep 17 #15
Snackshack Sep 17 #18
LastLiberal in PalmSprings Sep 18 #20
BumRushDaShow Sep 18 #22
ancianita Sep 18 #23
BumRushDaShow Sep 18 #24
ancianita Sep 18 #25
BumRushDaShow Sep 18 #26
ancianita Sep 18 #27
BumRushDaShow Sep 18 #28
ancianita Sep 18 #30
Bayard Sep 18 #29
Roisin Ni Fiachra Sep 18 #31

Response to BumRushDaShow (Original post)

Fri Sep 17, 2021, 07:26 PM

1. Whoa!

I think all the Colorado congressmen and senators supported the move. But at least there will be something in Grand Junction.

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Response to BumRushDaShow (Original post)

Fri Sep 17, 2021, 07:27 PM

2. TFG did so much damage....

that he probably was only slightly aware of.

Good move restoring the legacy and keeping the new office.

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Response to Red Mountain (Reply #2)

Sat Sep 18, 2021, 04:37 PM

32. Sometimes clueless about the damage, other times he did it on purpose to inflict pain.

Yes I am glad that the office is being moved back.

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Response to BumRushDaShow (Original post)

Fri Sep 17, 2021, 07:37 PM

3. If I didn't wear a beard you'd be able to see that I have cute dimples just like Deb!

That has nothing to do with this excellent op but maybe I should think about running
for office. (I'm just joking.)

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Response to abqtommy (Reply #3)

Fri Sep 17, 2021, 07:41 PM

5. LOL

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Response to BumRushDaShow (Original post)

Fri Sep 17, 2021, 07:41 PM

4. Nice! n/t

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Response to BumRushDaShow (Original post)

Fri Sep 17, 2021, 07:46 PM

6. Fantastic! This is a great action to take in support of science and scientists.

The move to Grand Junction was shocking to me - a cruel exercise intended to create a new reality - one without science or critical thinkers.

I don't imagine that they'll get even 30% of the former employees back, but maybe enough to make a difference in how quickly it will be able to resume tasks related to it's core missions.

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Response to BumRushDaShow (Original post)

Fri Sep 17, 2021, 08:25 PM

7. Outstanding!

Eat shit and die, trump!

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Response to Paladin (Reply #7)

Fri Sep 17, 2021, 09:29 PM

12. I'd have no argument against either OR both.

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Response to BumRushDaShow (Original post)

Fri Sep 17, 2021, 08:42 PM

8. I think Trump and the Republicans got what they wanted out of it which was for many of the people to

leave their jobs over it thus leaving gaps in the agency for the Republicans to try and exploit in varies ways.

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Response to cstanleytech (Reply #8)

Sat Sep 18, 2021, 12:39 AM

19. Sadly true.

It was an underhanded way to force to people out. Hopefully they can those gaps filled soon.

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Response to BumRushDaShow (Original post)

Fri Sep 17, 2021, 08:48 PM

9. Dept of Agriculture??

Didn't Trump move a lot of the Dept of Agriculture to Kansas? Or am I confused with this move by the BLM people?

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Response to AverageOldGuy (Reply #9)

Fri Sep 17, 2021, 08:52 PM

10. Just looked it up and found this

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Response to BumRushDaShow (Reply #10)

Fri Sep 17, 2021, 09:54 PM

16. Yet employees of affected agencies worked their

Proverbial butts off ensuring the moved employees could perform their duties at the new location.
The time & effort by dozens of staff at IT levels from various agencies is commendable & applaudable. IT hardware, software, processes, people, lives, families moved. Hours of work expended to make it work, thousands of them.
Their customers did NOT suffer. NOW it will all be reversed. More hours, more work, more lives disrupted. ALL because #45 had a wild hair.
I know. Before 12-20 retirement, I led the meetings that accomplished the moves.
I’ve never seen a more professional group of individuals attend to ensuring their businesses were properly moved. All the while enduring an upheaval of their own lives.
These people are the cement of these agencies!
I thanked them when I left.

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Response to Pas-de-Calais (Reply #16)

Sat Sep 18, 2021, 04:53 AM

21. Back in the early '70s

when my dad worked at the VA (then called the Veteran's Administration) as a computer programmer, the agency had drawn up plans to consolidate his function in Austin, TX. I remember my parents discussing it and getting ready to do the process of "house-hunting" while me and my sisters were looking up (in the trusty "Word Book Encyclopedia" ) where Austin was.

Eventually neither the consolidation nor the move happened, but I always chuckle that I was thisclose to being a Texan.

I know during various times during my federal career before retiring, there have been consolidations and reorganizations and just all sorts of disruptions. The agency would then have employees take training in "Embracing change". And then a new administration would come in and some of that "embraced change" was shelved and... Next! Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

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Response to BumRushDaShow (Original post)

Fri Sep 17, 2021, 08:56 PM

11. The fucking moron shut down

or reduced many agencies in DC the first year of his term. Mostly any agency related to science was eliminated or grossly understaffed. His attempted destruction of our democracy will continue to harm the US for a quite a while. His cuts were deep.

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Response to BumRushDaShow (Original post)

Fri Sep 17, 2021, 09:32 PM

13. Speaking of Deb Haaland...

... have you heard the latest from Texas, now working to strip their native citizens of their family rights? Petition to Deb Haaland and the Supreme Court of the United States.

https://www.tiktok.com/@modern_warrior__/video/7005662339185822981?is_copy_url=1&is_from_webapp=v1&fbclid=IwAR3_KCAa0by-6t20ykON4SH6qGJ5W88epgPwnrpOPV0t8fAMy3z0awIDF5A

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Response to TheJillMill (Reply #13)

Fri Sep 17, 2021, 09:54 PM

17. Huh?? Only saw a bunch of teenagers dancing and 2 dogs getting it on...

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Response to BumRushDaShow (Original post)

Fri Sep 17, 2021, 09:42 PM

14. There is an upside

They will be moving in to an upgraded office space with the best internet anywhere.
Everything should be new. Enjoy!

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Response to BumRushDaShow (Original post)

Fri Sep 17, 2021, 09:44 PM

15. As it should be...



Tikki

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Response to BumRushDaShow (Original post)

Fri Sep 17, 2021, 10:20 PM

18. It will take decades...

To recover (if it’s even possible) from the damage the GOP and that CSMF did.

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Response to BumRushDaShow (Original post)

Sat Sep 18, 2021, 03:52 AM

20. Now it's time to build the new FBI headquaters outside of Washington.

The plan was in progress to build a new campus when TFG cancelled it in favor of upgrading the building on the Mall. Speculation is that he was afraid the old site would be bought by a developer who would put in a new hotel which would compete with T****'s hotel in the Old Post Office.

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Response to LastLiberal in PalmSprings (Reply #20)

Sat Sep 18, 2021, 09:01 AM

22. Maybe WV

because I remember when this similar type of thing happened oh so long ago, promoted by a different "Senator from West Virginia" ...

C.I.A. Seeks West Virginia Move Because That's Where Money Is

By Eric Schmitt

Feb. 24, 1992


The Central Intelligence Agency's proposal to build an office complex in West Virginia resulted directly from the influence a powerful West Virginia Senator has on winning financing for the compound, an internal agency investigation has concluded. An examination of agency relocation plans by the agency's inspector general found that C.I.A. officials chose a site in West Virginia over less expensive locations in Virginia because Senator Robert C. Byrd, a West Virginia Democrat who heads the Senate Appropriations Committee, could help the agency receive money for the project.

The inquiry, which was reported in The Washington Post today, found no evidence that Senator Byrd or agency officials violated any laws or Federal ethics rules. But the report criticized agency officials for failing to keep members of Congress informed of the decision process, and for "an attitude that was markedly inconsistent with what would be expected of a group working on a billion-dollar project," said an official familiar with the study, quoting from it.

When Senator Byrd stepped down as majority leader three years ago to head the powerful Appropriations Committee, he said he was doing so to funnel a billion dollars worth of Federal projects and agencies into his impoverished state. The Appropriations Committee is one of the biggest sources of project financing, or political "pork," in Congress, and Mr. Byrd has tapped it without hesitation to help his friends back home and in the Senate, strengthening both himself and his state. "I hope to become West Virginia's billion-dollar industry," the Senator told a crowd in Clarksburg, W.Va., in June 1990. "I expect in my term to bring at least a billion dollars to West Virginia."

Consolidation Plan

The immediate issue is the C.I.A.'s plans to move 6,000 workers now housed in 21 leased offices in the Washington area to two new proposed compounds, one in Jefferson County, W.Va., and the other in Prince William County, Va. The agency's headquarters would remain in Langley, Va., just outside Washington.

https://www.nytimes.com/1992/02/24/us/cia-seeks-west-virginia-move-because-that-s-where-money-is.html


Incentives, incentives.

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Response to BumRushDaShow (Original post)

Sat Sep 18, 2021, 09:38 AM

23. If Congress has any say, it must pass a law that disallows agency removals from Washington, DC,

without approval votes by both houses.

These moves might not intend to weaken Congressional oversight, but they could and would.

Under Trump, my bet is that these moves weren't just intended to force out employees, gut agencies or put them where they'd best serve the country, these moves were to keep agencies away from the corporate lobbyists who'd be running policy in Washington, and better enable Republican run statehouses or Republican billionaires like Koch to "mind" them.

The only deep state that still exists is still the insurgent corporate one that tried to destroy government under Trump.

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Response to ancianita (Reply #23)

Sat Sep 18, 2021, 10:02 AM

24. Since consolidations, moves, and relocations have to be funded by Congress

they eventually find out about administrations trying to get around the process.

I think what happened in this case was the unfortunate situation of Democrats not being in control of any of the chambers until after the 2018 election, and the wheels had already been set in motion by then, where they managed to skate around the oversight process and appeared to have even got additional funding in their FY 2020 budget that could cover it back in 2019.

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Response to BumRushDaShow (Reply #24)

Sat Sep 18, 2021, 10:33 AM

25. True. Though eventually finding out isn't a governance strategy, given incoming planetary problems.

Any destabilizing of government agencies across states allows for the corporate kleptocratic steal of national resources.

If current Democratic oversight could build back better -- to write laws that trigger immediate stops to "new" "consolidations, moves, and relocation" decisions for agencies until "the deciders" testify before oversight committees and explain short and long term cost/benefits -- then there would be oversight that approaches monitoring, a good thing, since our food supply and environment will be needing a closer watch by Washington.

Last I heard, climate impact and mitigation are supposed to be built into everything done in government now. If speed and efficiency matter because things are still as 'urgent' as leadership once told us they were, Congress and WH leadership have to make sure those skate arounds, and Haaland's decision, never lawfully or legally happen again.

Plans and people are in place. Votes, courts and enforcement are not. It's hard to believe that party goals are attainable while government structurally remains so creaky.

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Response to ancianita (Reply #25)

Sat Sep 18, 2021, 10:56 AM

26. Well... part of the issue with that

is the "earmark" benefit to such relocations.

In the case of the BLM move, one of the ones promoting it, who was the (D) Governor of Colorado at the time, is now a (D) Senator for the state. And he, along with the (D) Senator Michael Bennet (now the senior Senator of CO), still want something there -

https://www.bennet.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/2021/1/bennet-hickenlooper-reiterate-support-for-a-fully-fledged-blm-headquarters-in-grand-junction-urge-biden-administration-to-work-with-colorado-delegation

Bennet, Hickenlooper Reiterate Support for a Fully-Fledged BLM Headquarters in Grand Junction, Urge Biden Administration to Work with Colorado Delegation
January 23, 2021

Denver — Colorado U.S. Senators Michael Bennet (D) and John Hickenlooper (D) reiterated their longstanding, consistent support for a fully functioning Bureau of Land Management (BLM) headquarters in Grand Junction, Colorado.

Despite committing to move the BLM headquarters to Grand Junction, the Department of the Interior assigned 41 senior staff positions to Grand Junction, many of which they rushed to fill at the end of 2020. After the scaled-down move was announced, the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel editorial board wrote, “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.”

In a letter to President Joe Biden, the senators touted the benefits of a fully-fledged headquarters on the Western Slope and urged the Biden Administration to work with the bipartisan members of the Colorado Congressional Delegation on the BLM headquarters move.

“We continue to support a full BLM headquarters in Grand Junction. We believe that such an effort must be more than symbolic and must include the staff and resources to improve management and protect our public land,” wrote the senators. “A full headquarters in Colorado would not only grow the Western Colorado economy, but also send an important signal that rural America is an appropriate place for such a prestigious institution.”

Bennet has supported moving the BLM national headquarters out West for years, commenting on the idea in August 2017. In March 2018, Bennet encouraged then-Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to visit Grand Junction and select it as the new headquarters location. In July 2019, Bennet applauded the proposal to move BLM headquarters to Grand Junction as an investment in the community while noting that more work must be done to ensure a true national headquarters was established in Grand Junction.

As Governor, Hickenlooper advocated for the BLM to move its headquarters to Grand Junction and touted the economic benefits for the state.

The text of the letter is available HERE and below.

Dear Mr. President:

We write to express our continued support for a fully functioning Bureau of Land Management (BLM) headquarters in Grand Junction, Colorado.

Early on in the Trump Administration, the Department of the Interior (DOI) indicated that it would move the BLM Headquarters to a western state. This announcement led states and cities across the West to believe that hundreds of employees would move to a single city, improving BLM’s customer service and public land management.

Throughout the Trump Administration’s search for a new headquarters location, we expressed support for and encouraged a move to Colorado for many reasons. The BLM’s multiple-use mission aligns closely with the values of Coloradans who use our public land – whether for hiking, grazing, hunting, mountain biking, or resource development. We felt that a headquarters in Grand Junction would provide BLM leadership the opportunity to live, work, and recreate on the Western Slope. It simply makes sense that the public servants who manage our public lands should live among the natural resources they oversee. When combined with sufficient resources, experienced leadership, and proper priorities, such a move could improve agency decision making.

In July 2019, then-Secretary Bernhardt announced that the BLM headquarters would move to Grand Junction, Colorado and just over a year later the DOI signed an order formalizing this move. Despite these important and symbolic steps, the Trump Administration did not follow through on their commitment to Grand Junction. The BLM assigned only 41 senior staff positions to relocate to Grand Junction, positions that they had to rush to fill at the end of 2020. While this is a reasonable start and is appreciated by the Western Slope, the job is far from finished. When the DOI announced the scaled down move, the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel commented, “A day after feeling like this was a game-changer for Grand Junction, the letdown is palpable. 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.” We share these sentiments. Now more than ever the BLM must work at its highest capacity as climate change drives more catastrophic wildfires and severe drought across the West.

We continue to support a full BLM headquarters in Grand Junction. We believe that such an effort must be more than symbolic and must include the staff and resources to improve management and protect our public land. A full headquarters in Colorado would not only grow the Western Colorado economy, but also send an important signal that rural America is an appropriate place for such a prestigious institution. Therefore, we encourage you to work with the bipartisan members of the Colorado delegation and other congressional leaders to find a path forward for the BLM headquarters in Grand Junction, Colorado.

Sincerely,



Don't know what to say.

I think that the way they define "earmarks" or "pork" can also be considered "redistributing taxpayer money back to the taxpayers". Of course part of that problem is that some are more crafty than others getting those funds to their local communities, where you may have one state loaded up with "job-creating projects", while others barely get anything. So the process really needs some major overhauls.

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Response to BumRushDaShow (Reply #26)

Sat Sep 18, 2021, 11:18 AM

27. I hear you. You're an education here.

You almost always point out great contexts of history and detailed information. And in this case, structural issues that frustrate change because of old norms.

I love BLM. I appreciate that it's already had offices in every western state I've visited (since I have a card that lets me go on BLM land). Moving back to Washington won't be zero sum, given the existence of BLM offices out west.

I don't know what to say, either, except that oversight needs overhauling so that Democrats aren't on this treadmill of repair every blasted time they run two branches. Like committee oversight rules that work on behalf of the whole country, and won't allow for earmarks that would or could override or undermine agency regulations that work on behalf of the whole country.

"Pork" was originally a pejorative for good reason. Agencies' serve the nation's long term interests, first, at odds with Congress persons' short term serving of their states. That congressional norm might have to end, so that, like this presidency, Congress must see itself as governing for humans' property interests, not corporations' constitutional interests. Schumer must get bolder about oversight.

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Response to ancianita (Reply #27)

Sat Sep 18, 2021, 11:49 AM

28. Well former Senator (and previously Congressman) Jeff Flake

was a "master" at calling out the "earmarks". In every budget debate (and I watched a pile to see what would happen with funding for my own agency at the time), he would often show up and literally wave his list of earmarks that "others" were requesting, and would read them into the Congressional record. He literally became a fixture at every budget debate.

For example, when he was a member of the House -



and when he was in the Senate -



And as a sidenote, I have been fortunate to visit CO twice and it certainly is a beautiful state. It still boggled my mind flying into Colorado Springs, after literally flying almost 2,000 miles over "flat" farmland and then seeing the sudden appearance of the Rockies rising up out of the ground like a wall, with the city nestled alongside them. Coming into Denver was even more dramatic because the city's skyscrapers looked like "weeds" popping up out of the flat ground.



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Response to BumRushDaShow (Reply #28)

Sat Sep 18, 2021, 12:05 PM

30. Right? I remember all that.

And earmarks don't have to be old jurassic "pork" skating by without review. They can be shifted through oversight committees as points of monitoring to assure that agencies spend where the money's needed.

I've been back and forth to CO, visiting, touring, rafting, hiking; it kinda went with an old summer custody arrangement for my daughter back in the day, first in the Colorado Springs & Cripple Creek environs, then in Denver, Boulder and environs. Yeah, it's beautiful there and I'm glad it's getting bluer.

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Response to BumRushDaShow (Original post)

Sat Sep 18, 2021, 12:04 PM

29. I'd certainly rather live in the mountains of W. Colorado

But, I understand people upset about their lives being upended. And now the few that did make the move are going to be uprooted again, but its what is needed.

Everything TFG touches, dies.

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Response to BumRushDaShow (Original post)

Sat Sep 18, 2021, 03:47 PM

31. Supporters of TFG should be fired from the BLM and Forest Service.

They don't care about the land, or the flora and fauna that live there at all.

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