Grand Junction, CO

BLM keeps 36 jobs in Grand Junction, plans to add more

Matt Whittaker

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Aerial view of Grand Junction airport.Freepik.com

By Matt Whittaker / NewsBreak Denver

(Grand Junction, Colo.) Three dozen positions will remain in the Bureau of Land Management’s Grand Junction offices as others relocate to Washington.

Although the main headquarters will return to the nation’s capital, reversing a Trump-era shift, the BLM will bulk up its presence in Grand Junction, which will function as the agency’s western headquarters.

“There are 36 jobs staying in Grand Junction, with additional positions to be posted soon,” said Melissa Schwartz, spokeswoman with the Interior Department, which includes the BLM.

BML largest US land manager

The bureau administers 244 million acres of a total 640 million acres of federal surface land, more than any other U.S. agency. Most of that is in the western part of the country. The BLM also manages more than 700 million acres of onshore underground federal mineral estate. 

The agency’s management responsibilities cover solar and wind energy development; oil, gas and coal development; livestock grazing; gold and silver mining; timber harvesting; and outdoor recreation including camping, hunting, rafting, and off-highway vehicle driving.

The Trump administration decided to move the BLM’s main office to Grand Junction to save money and bring leaders closer to most of the lands they oversee. Colorado politicians from both sides of the aisle supported the move. Critics saw the original headquarters shift as a way to cozy up to the fossil fuel industry and drain career BLM officials who didn’t want to move west. 

Just 3 moved to Grand Junction

In September, the Interior Department announced it would move the BLM headquarters back to Washington and expand its presence in Grand Junction.

“The previous administration relocated the BLM headquarters to Grand Junction, Colo., a move that failed to deliver promised jobs across the West and drove hundreds of people out of the agency,” the Interior Department said.

More than 320 positions were moved from Washington to western locales, but only 41 staffers decided to relocate, and just three moved to Grand Junction, the department said. 

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Matt Whittaker writes about natural resources industries, including oil and gas, mining, renewable energy, agriculture and cannabis. He's been based in the Denver metro area since 2013. You can follow him on Twitter @mattswhittaker.

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