Daines Introduces Legislation Authorizing Move of BLM Headquarters to the West

U.S. SENATE —U.S. Senator Steve Daines this week introduced the Bureau of Land Management Headquarters Relocation Act, legislation that would authorize the move of the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) headquarters from Washington, D.C. to one of the following Western states: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, or Wyoming.

“The folks who make decisions about our land should have a solid understanding of what it means to have the federal government as your largest neighbor,” Daines stated. “In the West, federal land makes up a lot of our states but those who make decisions about federal land management are thousands of miles away in Washington, D.C.  What better way to ensure a ‘government of the people, for the people,’ than by bringing the decisions closer to home.”

David Allen, RMEF President & CEO: “We support the proposal to move the BLM headquarters to a western state.  We support any measure that has the potential to improve management of federal lands. There could be real benefit to having BLM leadership residing closer to the lands they manage and the people that use those lands.  There is also the long-term potential for cost savings to the agency as well as the increased likelihood of recruiting talented people for management positions without the challenges of living in the Washington D.C. area.” 

Nicole Rolf, Director of National Affairs, Montana Farm Bureau Federation: “It makes good sense for BLM to be headquartered in one of the states containing high percentages of the lands they manage. Our members hope that being in close proximity to these lands will not only provide cost savings to the federal government, but it will also make the BLM employees literally and figuratively closer to the land and better able to understand the challenges and opportunities of the West.” 

Jay Bodner, Executive Director of Natural Resources, Montana Stockgrowers Association and Montana Public Lands Council: “The Montana Stockgrowers Association and the Montana Public Lands Council thanks Senator Daines for introducing this bill. We see this as a reasonable approach to evaluate the efficiency and realistic opportunities for western states to give greater input on issues where BLM lands exist.”

Dave McEwen, President, Montana Wool Growers Association: “The majority of public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management are situated west of the Mississippi. So too for the public resources managed by the agency. This is why the Montana Wool Growers Association thanks Senator Daines for introducing legislation to make a Western state, such as Montana, the center of BLM decision making.  The agency should be placed in a location that is closest to the assets it manages, and closest to the people with which it partners, be they livestock producers, minors, or renewable energy producers.  With Washington D.C. being the current headquarters, Montana’s sheep industry is finding more and more that decision making is being removed from the local, on the ground level, and being placed in the hands of federal bureaucrats who are far removed from the activities they purport to oversee.”  

Alan Olson, Executive Director, Montana Petroleum Association: “The Montana Petroleum Association appreciates Senator Daines’ sponsorship of legislation to allow consideration of moving the Bureau of Land Management’s headquarters office to a western state. The Bureau’s operations have a significant impact on resource development as well as grazing and recreational opportunities in the Western states. These operations bring with them a tremendous opportunity for substantial economic impact. We believe that due to the various agency impacts on Western states the headquarters for the Bureau should be in the region most heavily impacted by Bureau decisions.”