DENVER (AP) — The Latest on the Trump administration plan to move the Bureau of Land Management headquarters from Washington to Colorado (all times local):
The Trump administration says it can save taxpayers up to $100 million over 20 years and trim a “top-heavy” office in Washington by moving the headquarters of the Bureau of Land Management to Colorado and dispersing scores of jobs across 11 Western states.
The Interior Department, which oversees the bureau, said Tuesday it plans to transfer at least some positions over the next 15 months, but officials didn’t give specific dates for establishing the new headquarters in the western Colorado town of Grand Junction.
Joseph Balash, an assistant secretary of the interior, said the moves will save money because office space is cheaper than Washington. He also said cost-of-living differentials would be lower in the West.
He said most of the land the agency manages is in the West.
The Trump administration says about 300 jobs in the Bureau of Land Management are moving to Western states as part of a reorganization, but fewer than 30 appeared headed to the agency’s new headquarters in Grand Junction, Colorado.
The Interior Department, which oversees the bureau, released a few details of the planned move Tuesday ahead of a formal announcement of the plans.
The department says about 85 jobs will be shifted to Colorado, but most of those will go to suburban Denver, where the federal government has a large campus with regional offices of several agencies, including the Bureau of Land Management.
Nevada is in line for nearly 50 jobs, Utah about 45, and Arizona and New Mexico about 40 each.
The bureau oversees nearly 388,000 square miles (1 billion square kilometers) of public land, and 99% is in 12 Western states. Only about 400 of the bureau’s 9,000 employees are in Washington. The rest are in field offices nationwide.
Republican lawmakers announced the move Monday, but administration officials didn’t confirm it until Tuesday.
Some Westerners complain the U.S. government is an absentee landlord, managing vast tracts of public lands in their states from the nation’s capital, but GOP lawmakers say that may change soon.
Colorado Republican Sen. Cory Gardner said Monday the Bureau of Land Management is moving its headquarters from Washington to his state.
He said the new office would be in Grand Junction, 250 miles (400 kilometers) west of Denver.
A Bureau of Land Management spokeswoman said she couldn’t confirm or deny the move. An announcement about the agency’s plans was expected Tuesday.
A spokesman for Utah Republican Rep. Rob Bishop says Colorado, Nevada and Utah could each gain 50 jobs.
The bureau oversees nearly 388,000 square miles (1 billion square kilometers) of public land, and 99% is in 12 Western states.