WASHINGTON (KKTV) - The Bureau of Land Management will be relocating its headquarters to Grand Junction.
The Trump administration announced the move can save taxpayers up to $100 million over 20 years and trim a "top-heavy" office in Washington. Jobs will reportedly be dispersed across 11 Western states.
Sen. Cory Gardner, who last year introduced a bill to move the headquarters to the western United States, announced the decision Monday afternoon.
“Today is a historic day for our nation’s public lands, western states, and the people of Colorado,” Gardner said in a statement. “Relocating the Bureau of Land Management to the Western Slope of Colorado will bring the bureau’s decision-makers closer to the people they serve and the public lands they manage. ... Ninety-nine percent of the land the BLM manages is west of the Mississippi."
In the bill, Gardner called for the headquarters to be moved to any of those dozen states: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington or Wyoming.
The transfer of some positions will take place over the next 15 months, but it isn't clear when the new headquarters will be established.
Joseph Balash, an assistant secretary of the Interior, said the moves will save money because office space is cheaper than Washington. He also said cost-of-living differentials would be lower in the West.
He said most of the land the agency manages is in the West.
Though Gardner is confident of the move being a done deal, he has acknowledged that the plan may still undergo congressional review. He has said it is his understanding that the Interior has the authority to relocate the BLM.