Today, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report declaring that President Trump’s Interior Department and Bureau of Land Management did not conduct a full cost-benefit analysis around controversial decision to relocate to a new headquarters and “has not demonstrated how the proposed reorganization would affect the workforce, including staff retention.”
Statement by Western Values Project Deputy Director Jayson O’Neill:
“This is what we’ve suspected all along. The Trump administration’s relocation of America’s largest land management bureau has been a pointless, poorly planned and poorly executed boondoggle that is costing taxpayers millions of dollars.
“The relocation effort is nothing more than a boldfaced effort to gut the public lands bureau so it will better serve the Trump administration’s special interest allies. Ultimately, moving the BLM is a reckless, purposeless, and cynical attempt to dismantle the bureau by excluding career expertise from the public lands decision-making process.”
The BLM move has long been criticized for lacking a purpose or plan. Interior’s talking points were riddled with political spin, untruths, and misleading points. Congressional funding was allocated but hinged on the promise that Interior provides “regular briefings to lawmakers on the controversial Bureau of Land Management headquarters relocation,” which has not happened. Interior and the BLM already received some $14 million tax dollars for the reorganization and relocation proposal. The department requested an additional $28 million ‘to continue implementing DOI’s vision for a reorganized Department, focusing resources on its new unified regions, moving headquarters staff west, and expanding the use of shared services.’ That funding was not authorized, yet the controversial BLM move and reorganization have plowed forward.
Just last week, WVP announced a five-figure campaign calling for answers concerning the BLM relocation effort. The campaign comes shortly after the House Natural Resources Committee (HNRC) voted to approve subpoena power for Committee Chairman Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.).