Bennet Joins Gardner, Hickenlooper In Endorsing Relocating BLM, DOI Agency Headquarters To Colorado
Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) is all-in on a possible relocation of Department of Interior federal agency offices to Colorado, he said Thursday.
“I’m all for it. I’m all for it, I think it would be great,” Bennet told Western Wire. “I think anything we can get out of Washington, D.C. and into Colorado, I’m for.”
Bennet was speaking at the Colorado Oil and Gas Association conference in Denver where he acknowledged previous bipartisan success with oil exports and his controversial support of the Keystone XL pipeline.
The Democratic senator acknowledged three Interior agency departments, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the Bureau of Reclamation (BOR), and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), were candidates for a DOI shift west. E&E News broke news last week after it published employee notes from a July meeting attended by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke outlining a possible relocation of the three agencies to the Denver, Colorado area.
“Denver will probably have the headquarters for BLM, FWS, and BOR,” the employees wrote. Any move would not begin until 2019.
Bennet affirmed support for the transfer of all three agencies. He joined other Colorado and Western leaders welcoming the news that Colorado was being considered as a spot for new agency headquarters.
Gov. John Hickenlooper told Western Wire last week those agencies and the thousands of employees who work for them could look forward to a “warm welcome” when they arrive.
“Colorado is home to many employees with the Bureau of Land Management, Fish and Wildlife Service and the Bureau of Reclamation,” Hickenlooper said. “Their colleagues would receive a warm welcome should Sec. Zinke relocate the entire team to Colorado. It’s an ideal location and having them closer to the resources they manage makes good sense,” said Hickenlooper.
Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), who shared the stage with Bennet earlier in the day, introduced a bill in May to relocate the BLM offices to a Western state, saying such an effort “could cure some agencies like the BLM of Potomac Fever by moving them out of Washington.”
Rep. Scott Tipton (R-Colo.), introduced the House version of the bill. Moving land management decisions to the West, the congressman said, “is good policy.”
“I think there’s too much concentration of decision making in Washington already,” Hickenlooper said in March. “Part of the benefit of that would be more trust between the regulated industries and the local communities if they all knew who was doing the regulating.”