BLM leaders commute between D.C. and new headquarters

The majority of employees are considering retiring or leaving the agency rather than relocate.


The view approaching Grand Junction, Colorado, from the east. BLM senior leaders will travel from Washington, D.C. to Colorado for two-week stints.

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Leaked audio from a Bureau of Land Management staff meeting in Washington, D.C., last September revealed an agency struggling to justify the planned relocation of its headquarters to Grand Junction, Colorado. Angry staffers confronted acting BLM Director William Perry Pendley, who denied that the move was an attempt to weaken federal authority and said he was simply following the Trump administration’s orders. Employees appeared dissatisfied with the lack of transparency surrounding the move (“How BLM employees really feel about moving West,” 9/20/19).

Beginning in January 2020, some BLM senior leaders plan to rotate between Washington, D.C., and Grand Junction on two-week shifts, according to a report by E&E News. It remains unclear how many employees will permanently relocate, but E&E reported that up to 80% of those reassigned to the West are considering rejecting the order and retiring or leaving the agency. Also in early January, Interior Secretary David Bernhardt extended Pendley’s position as acting BLM director until at least April 3.

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