Energy & Environment

BLM's new headquarters to share building with oil and gas companies

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) signed a lease for its new headquarters in a Grand Junction, Colo. building that also houses several companies that the federal bureau regulates.

The Department of the Interior made the controversial announcement in July that most of BLM's Washington D.C. staff would be relocated out West. Officials said it would move staff closer to the lands and resources BLM oversees.

The new headquarters will cost significantly less than to run than the current D.C. office, BLM said in a release. The new headquarters will house the director, deputy director and several assistant directors of the BLM. 

It also, however, houses a construction company, a Chevron office, and a few oil and gas companies, according ton online property records.

The building's other tenants were first reported by Colorado Public Radio.

"Today marks an important step for the Bureau. The relocation of our headquarters will provide significant benefits, including more efficient operations and being a better neighbor to western communities," BLM Deputy Director for Programs and Policy William Perry Pendley said in the release. 

The move out West has been controversial, with critics alleging it was mismanaged and unnecessary.

"Our worst fears have been confirmed: moving this critical public lands agency out of D.C. has always been intended to give more access to special interests while dismantling institutions and getting rid of federal employees," Deputy Director of Western Values Project Jayson O'Neill said in a statement. "Now the agency tasked with protecting and standing up for our public lands will be rubbing elbows with oil executives and sharing a water cooler with extractive interest allies."

Offices for the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Weather Service are also located near the new headquarters.

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