Trump Administration Takes Aim at the Bureau of Land Management

BLM Offices in Washington, D.C. Photo: Doug Kapustin, For The Washington Post

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is a small federal agency but it manages 250 million acres of land around the country, much of it in the West, and recently the Trump Administration announced that it wants to move most of its employees from Washington, D.C. to Colorado and other Western states as part of a larger agency re-organization.  According to The Washington Post, the move is part of a larger administration-wide effort to shift power away from the nation’s capitol and shrink the size of the federal government. Worse yet, its new “acting” leader, attorney William Perry Pendley, has espoused that the Declaration of Independence calls for all federal lands to be sold into private hands and that he believes the best owners would be fossil fuel and other corporations.

Why This Matters:  That is our land they are talking about — it is one of the most significant differences between the U.S. and other countries — we have saved some of our land and natural resources for the benefit of everyone.  These national treasures are one of the few remaining things we share as a nation.  And they want to sell it off taking away another piece of our common heritage. Moreover, their mismanagement of our federal government is also hollowing out something else that made the U.S. great —  our government is a collective organization that could do big things for the benefit of all of us.  The BLM move may never happen but the employees whose lives hang in the balance while we fight about it may just walk away, particularly as the Administration turns the purpose of the agency on its head.  What a lose-lose proposition.

Pendley’s View – We Did Not Shrink The Monuments Enough

Ecowatch explained that:

  • “Pendley wrote in 2016 that ‘the Founding Fathers intended all lands owned by the federal government to be sold,’ and as recently as this month he lauded fossil fuel extraction as an ‘energy, economic, and environmental miracle.'”
  • “Pendley has been critical of the Interior Department’s shrinking of Bears Ears and Grand Escalante National Monuments — because he feels the president has not been aggressive enough in offering the public lands for what he views as their sole purposes: ‘ranching, mile, oil and gas, or energy activities,’ according to a 2016 interview.”

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