The Bureau of Land Management has leased office space for its new headquarters in Grand Junction, Colorado, and one public lands watchdog isn’t pleased with who the agency’s leadership will be sharing the elevator with.
The building at 760 Horizon Drive in Grand Junction houses a corporate office for Chevron, the Colorado Oil and Gas Association, as well as a company in the natural gas exploration business.
“You can’t physically get in bed with industry, but Secretary Interior Bernhardt did the second best thing by moving in next door to oil and gas corporations as well as special interest lobbying groups,” said Jayson O’Neill of the nonprofit Western Values Project.
O’Neill’s among the many critics of the Interior Department’s plan to move BLM’s top brass away from Washington, D.C., where they work closely with decision makers and other agencies such as the Forest Service.
“And now the agency that is really tasked with protecting public lands for balanced use will be rubbing elbows with oil executives as well as extractive interest allies,” O’Neill said.
In a statement, a BLM spokesperson said “to suggest the lease agreement was chosen to afford unethical access to select special interest groups is flagrant and ironic” and that “their process to procure the lease was open, competitive and fair.”
This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, KUER in Salt Lake City, KUNR in Nevada and KRCC and KUNC in Colorado.
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