The Department of Interior (DOI) said it is relocating the headquarters for the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) back to Washington, DC, from Grand Junction, CO.

Bureau of Land Management

The DOI said “following years of transition and upheaval among the workforce” the change would “enable the bureau to better serve the American public and fulfill its mission as the steward of nearly one-fifth of the nation’s public lands.”

The BLM’s Grand Junction office is to become its official western headquarters.

“The Bureau of Land Management is critical to the nation’s efforts to address the climate crisis, expand public access to our public lands, and preserve our nation’s shared outdoor heritage. It is imperative that the bureau have the appropriate structure and resources to serve the American public,” said DOI Secretary Deb Haaland. “There’s no doubt that the BLM should have a leadership presence in Washington, DC – like all the other land management agencies – to ensure that it has access to the policy-, budget-, and decision-making levers to best carry out its mission.”

BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land primarily in 12 western states, including Alaska. It also administers 700 million acres of subsurface mineral estate throughout the nation.

The move comes after “substantive engagement” with employees, Tribal consultations, and meetings with local, state, and federal leaders, the DOI said.

The previous administration’s decision to relocate the BLM headquarters to Grand Junction “failed to deliver promised jobs across the West and drove hundreds of people out of the agency,” the DOI said. “This led to a significant loss of institutional memory and talent.”

The Mountain Pact’s Anna Peterson said the decision “is a wonderful compromise and example of the Department of Interior’s commitment to our public lands in the West by keeping a Western presence through an office in Grand Junction while leadership and directors return to D.C.”

The Mountain Pact is an organization that works with local elected officials across the West on federal climate and public lands policies. Peterson said the BLM was hollowed out with 87% of staff quitting as a result of the move to Grand Junction during the Trump administration.