This summer, U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary David Bernhardt decided to break up the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), splitting up a number of key programs and scattering those functions across BLM offices in the West. It was a thinly veiled political move meant to force out hundreds of career staffers unwilling to uproot their families and lives to head to parts unknown. Included was a decision to transfer BLM’s political leadership from Washington, D.C., to Grand Junction, Colorado. Now there’s been another eyebrow-raising turn in this controversial relocation. The BLM will share a building with a number of oil and gas companies, including Chevron and Occidental, making ties with fossil fuel allies that depend on easy access to federal lands that much tighter. The strategy seems clear: Clean house of pesky experienced staffers and cozy up to industry pals—a recipe for disaster when it comes to protecting public lands from the oil and gas industry.
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PerspectivesUnited StatesJeff Turrentine
The forced relocation of hundreds of staffers is seen by many as a precursor to the agency’s dissolution—and a sell-off of public lands to the states.
Latest NewsUnited StatesJeff Turrentine
While his fellow Cabinet members struggle to fill key positions, Ryan Zinke is staffing the Interior with former lobbyists for oil and gas companies.
ExplainerUnited States, Washington, D.C.Jeff Turrentine
The man who’s likely to replace Ryan Zinke as Interior secretary is a seasoned Washington insider—and (surprise!) a former lobbyist for Big Oil and Big Ag.