Bush Plots Move West For Interior Department

October 21, 2015

Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush says he'd move the Department of Interior's offices to a Western city -- possibly Denver -- if he were elected. 

The agency controls vast tracts of land in the West through the Bureau of Land Management, the National Park Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Bush said the Washington, D.C.-based agency would be more accountable to the people it affects if it were located in the West. 

"People in the West feel the impact of federal decision-making more acutely than those in the rest of the nation," Bush wrote Wednesday. "Of the 635 million acres owned and managed by the federal government, 582 million acres — 90 percent — are in the West, including Alaska."

The agency already has a presence at the Denver Federal Center in Lakewood.

Bush's land management plan also would give states more authority over federal land while sidestepping the issue of federal land transfers. It promises access for recreation and pulls back on the Obama administration's regulation of water. John Freemuth, a professor of public policy at Boise State University, told NPR this morning that the plan was uninspired.

"That sounds like a garbage can of interesting ideas, old cliches and things that almost contradict each other sometimes," he told NPR's Nate Rott.