Watchdog group sues BLM for relocation docs

Watchdog group sues BLM for relocation docs
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A conservation watchdog group sued the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Wednesday, demanding that it hand over documents related to its relocation across the West.

The Department of the Interior announced in July that it would be moving 300 Washington-based employees to existing offices out West, leaving just 61 employees in the nation’s capital.

The Western Values Project filed the suit after Interior rejected a Freedom of Information Act request for the documents.

Critics have argued BLM’s relocation has been poorly planned, and lawmakers have been eager to get details of the move beyond what Interior outlined in a July 16 memo to lawmakers.

House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.) said he was weighing a subpoena to force Interior to turn over their planning documents. 

Internal Interior documents from July 15 reviewed by The Hill showed the department planned to move congressional affairs staff 2,600 miles away to Reno, Nev., while an international affairs specialist would be placed in Salt Lake City. 

On Tuesday, BLM missed its deadline to notify employees where they will be relocating after failing to formally notify state offices of the move.