Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) received tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from the same oil and gas corporations who will now share a building or are within walking distance of the new BLM headquarters, new research from Western Values Project shows, calling into question Sen. Gardner’s motivations in pushing for the reckless and purposeless relocation.
“Moving the BLM has been a bad idea from the get-go, coming from the untrustworthy Trump administration who’s been out to sell off and sell out America’s public lands since the start. And Senator Gardner has been advocating for this move all along. Why? Because the extractive corporate interests have their million-dollar man,” said Jayson O’Neill, Deputy Director of Western Values Project. “One only needs to look at the disastrous mining proposal outside of Glenwood Springs, Colorado linked to Secretary Bernhardt’s former lobby firm to realize that Senator Gardner’s talking point about listening to local voices is empty.”
Sen. Gardner has taken nearly $74,000 in campaign contributions from the same oil and gas corporations that will now co-locate or be within walking distance of BLM’s new headquarters. But this is hardly the first time Sen. Gardner’s actions have been linked to high-profile special interest donors. Behind the scenes, Sen. Gardner has raked in well over a million dollars in campaign donations from the oil and gas industry over his career, including cash from the Koch Industries PAC and oil and gas CEO Harold Hamm.
Sen. Gardner not only supported the BLM move — he issued the breaking news before it was officially announced by Interior. The news was quickly followed by Interior Secretary David Bernhardt’s official endorsement, though it was not accompanied by anything beyond a vague plan or even an outlined purpose or business case for the costly and disruptive relocation decision.
While the BLM move has long been criticized and questioned, career public servants recently faced a harsh ultimatum: to either quit the agency or uproot and move to essentially work for the same extractive corporations the BLM is supposed to regulate.
After breaking the news that BLM’s new headquarters in Grand Junction, Colorado would be co-located with several extractive oil and gas corporations and special interests, Western Values Project released a website, wedrillhq.com, and video highlighting how the controversial decision is rife with potential conflicts of interest.