By Stan Bush
DENVER (CBS4) – Rep. Jared Polis is the latest to join an effort to move the Bureau of Land Management out of Washington DC and into the West.
“Our public lands are in Colorado and Utah and Arizona and to have people that are helping to administer them that are closer to the land will be a step up in public land management,” said the Democrat who represents Colorado’s 2nd Congressional District.
Rep. Scott Tipton, a Republican who represents Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District, introduced the bill earlier this year. Mostly western Republicans support the bill, though two other Democrats, including Rep. Ed Perlmutter of Colorado’s 7th Congressional District, are also on board.
“I would say the closer the BLM land is to the land we treasure in Colorado, the more likely they are to understand the importance of these lands to our economy and our way of life,” Polis said.
No specific location is designated for the speculative relocation of the BLM, though supporters of the bill are likely to make a case why their states are best suited for the agency that manages millions of acres of federal land.
Critics worry moving the federal agency could disrupt local job markets if and when an administration promises to shrink the size of the federal work force.
The bill is also getting new attention in the aftermath of President Donald Trump’s administration announcing plans to dramatically reduce two Utah national monuments by millions of acres.
Moving the agency would not affect the political nature of those decisions, but Polis says it could change the culture inside the agency itself.
“It’s a great alternative to this idea of selling off our public lands,” he said.