After the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) moved West despite controversy and cost, new reporting from E&E News reveals that the new office is seemingly “unoccupied”, even missing employees and the Bureau’s Acting Director, William Pendley.
“Now we see why Interior Secretary David Bernhardt couldn’t provide any answers about the cost or purpose of uprooting the BLM: he didn’t have any,” said Chris Saeger, a spokesperson for Western Values Project. “The BLM move has always been a political play with our public lands management agency, meant to hand the keys to his extractive industry allies. With a brand new office space sitting seemingly empty, all taxpayers will feel their wallets burning while Bernhardt continues to exploit our outdoor heritage.”
The BLM move has long been criticized for lacking a purpose or plan. Even insider talking points were riddled with political spin and misleading points. Congress recently renewed its push for Interior accountability when leadership demanded answers around the move’s cost. Representative Raul Grijalva signaled the possibility of subpoenas intended to reveal the actual cost-benefit analysis of this long-criticized relocation plot. The Department responded but released merely an incomplete analysis.
Many other questions remain about the contentious BLM move – beyond the supposed “cost-saving,” – regarding the future of the career employees forced to relocate as well as the potential consequences of uprooting such a critical agency. Also under scrutiny is BLM’s Acting Director and known anti-public lands zealot William Pendley, who has his own conflicted resume and touts dangerously extremist views.