Draining the Swamp: BLM HQ Leaving DC for Colorado

 

One reason DC is so swampy is that so many federal agencies are located there. A mid-level bureaucrat can move from HUD to State to Agriculture, spreading bureaucratic groupthink and red-tape-induced sclerosis as they go. A great way to break this paper-pushing cartel is to spread agencies around the nation, preferably closer to the citizens they claim to serve.

On Monday, Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) announced a positive development on that front. The Bureau of Land Management will relocate its headquarters to Grand Junction, CO.

Today is a historic day for our nation’s public lands, western states, and the people of Colorado. Relocating the Bureau of Land Management to the Western Slope of Colorado will bring the bureau’s decision makers closer to the people they serve and the public lands they manage. The problem with Washington is too many policy makers are far removed from the people they are there to serve. Ninety-nine percent of the land the BLM manages is West of the Mississippi River, and so should be the BLM headquarters. This is a victory for local communities, advocates for public lands, and proponents for a more responsible and accountable federal government.

I wrote about a similar effort last month in the Arizona Republic. When Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue decided to relocate 547 employees from the Beltway to Kansas City, workers protested, standing with their backs to their boss. Just imagine, agricultural regulators were forced to associate with farmers. Eww.

This is a tiny step in the right direction, but most of our federal agencies should be moved out of the Beltway. Leave the departments of State, Defense and Treasury in Washington; those are the only three outlined in the Constitution to begin with. If we aren’t going to consolidate or eliminate the other agencies, at least move them closer to their mission.

The Department of the Interior should be, well, in the interior. As an Arizonan, I’m biased, but relocate it to the Grand Canyon State. After all, the federal government already owns nearly 39% of our state. Gila Bend is nice this time of year.

Shouldn’t Housing and Urban Development focus on a city that needs some help? Downtown Detroit is a perfect fit.

The U.S. News and World Report lists Alabama as the worst state for education. Why doesn’t Betsy DeVos move her thousands of employees to Birmingham? Perhaps they could expand their impact by volunteering for a few hours to tutor in local schools.

Six of America’s wealthiest counties surround Washington, D.C. Not only would these moves save taxpayers millions, they would alleviate income inequality by spreading the government’s borrowed wealth. Why should the perpetual economic boom be limited to our capital?

Thanks to Sen. Gardner, who shepherded this BLM move for years, and congratulations to Grand Junction. This is sure to energize the economy in the less populated, far west of the state. And, hopefully, result in the hiring of many Coloradans who understand land management better than apartment-dwellers in the Beltway.

There are 44 comments.

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  1. DonG Coolidge
    DonG
    @DonG

    This is brilliant and long overdue. 

    • #1
  2. Skyler Coolidge
    Skyler
    @Skyler

    I’m all for the move, though I would have preferred Wyoming, which could use a little more clout and population than Colorado.

    What puzzles me is how this came about.  Did the secretary just dictate it?  

    • #2
  3. Cow Girl Thatcher
    Cow Girl
    @CowGirl

    This is an astonishing, yet intelligent, concept! I, too, wonder how it has been accomplished. The West is so different from the East. I’m pretty sure that many of the bureaucrats who are the Land Managers don’t really have a good concept of how much of each of the Western states are locked down under their management. It will be good for people to see it.

    I’m sure also that there will be a lot of teeth gnashing about leaving behind the Beltway from this agency, too.

     

    • #3
  4. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    Did anyone ask the residents of Grand Junction how they feel about swamp dwellers moving into their territory? I mean, for Pete’s sake, Colorado doesn’t have enough socialists yet after importing all those Californians?? Have you heard about our red-flag gun grabbing governor and the recall petition against him?

    I have trouble getting too excited about this. I’d rather the BLM sold off 90% of federal lands and helped pay down the debt. After which, we could just shut down the BLM and reduce spending even more. 

    But, I’ll be in Grand Junction next week. Maybe I’ll ask the residents myself. 

    • #4
  5. Locke On Inactive
    Locke On
    @LockeOn

    Excellent.  Let the BLM swampees live with the sagebrush they claim to manage.

    • #5
  6. Basil Fawlty Member
    Basil Fawlty
    @BasilFawlty

    Just wait until you see the bill for relocating all those swamp dwellers to their new Western retirement properties.

    • #6
  7. Goldwaterwoman Thatcher
    Goldwaterwoman
    @goldwaterwoman

    Skyler (View Comment):
    What puzzles me is how this came about. Did the secretary just dictate it?

    I agree that it should be moved but am also left wondering how this came about. Can this be attributed to Trump? 

    • #7
  8. mildlyo Member
    mildlyo
    @mildlyo

    A good start.

    Next move the IRS to Fairbanks.

    Then the HHS HQ to Puerto Rico.

    • #8
  9. mildlyo Member
    mildlyo
    @mildlyo

    Basil Fawlty (View Comment):

    Just wait until you see the bill for relocating all those swamp dwellers to their new Western retirement properties.

    It will be much cheaper. The beltway and surrounding states have seen a land price boom on par with college tuition prices.

    • #9
  10. mildlyo Member
    mildlyo
    @mildlyo

    The solution to pollution is dilution.

    Move everything to the states. Bribe Senators with jobs in their state. Win Win.

    • #10
  11. Judge Mental Member
    Judge Mental
    @JudgeMental

    Who else was wondering why Black Lives Matter was moving to a state without black people?

    • #11
  12. WI Con Member
    WI Con
    @WICon

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):

    Did anyone ask the residents of Grand Junction how they feel about swamp dwellers moving into their territory? I mean, for Pete’s sake, Colorado doesn’t have enough socialists yet after importing all those Californians?? Have you heard about our red-flag gun grabbing governor and the recall petition against him?

    I have trouble getting too excited about this. I’d rather the BLM sold off 90% of federal lands and helped pay down the debt. After which, we could just shut down the BLM and reduce spending even more.

    But, I’ll be in Grand Junction next week. Maybe I’ll ask the residents myself.

    Let them move, fail the drug test from pot obtained at the corner store – then fire them! Win, win.

    • #12
  13. Basil Fawlty Member
    Basil Fawlty
    @BasilFawlty

    mildlyo (View Comment):

    Basil Fawlty (View Comment):

    Just wait until you see the bill for relocating all those swamp dwellers to their new Western retirement properties.

    It will be much cheaper. The beltway and surrounding states have seen a land price boom on par with college tuition prices.

    All of which goes to the swamp dwellers when they sell their beltway homes for cheaper digs out in CO, with the government picking up the moving, real estate brokerage and other costs associated with the moves

    • #13
  14. Wineguy13 Thatcher
    Wineguy13
    @Wineguy13

    I guess that is good news since I already have a house. I imagine it could drive up the housing costs since the real estate market in DC is pretty high. That picture is taken from the Palisade Rim trail about 3 miles away from me!  I have heard that this will mean cheap (relatively speaking) direct flights to DC which is good since my son is going to school there. So I got that going for me ;-)

    I agree that shuttering the whole bureau would be a better long term solution, but getting out of the swamp is good too. The city itself leans left but these DC types will want to live outside of city limits, and that is very red! Dilution indeed. 

    • #14
  15. Zed11 Inactive
    Zed11
    @Zed11

    Very good.

    • #15
  16. mildlyo Member
    mildlyo
    @mildlyo

    Basil Fawlty (View Comment):

    mildlyo (View Comment):

    Basil Fawlty (View Comment):

    Just wait until you see the bill for relocating all those swamp dwellers to their new Western retirement properties.

    It will be much cheaper. The beltway and surrounding states have seen a land price boom on par with college tuition prices.

    All of which goes to the swamp dwellers when they sell their beltway homes for cheaper digs out in CO, with the government picking up the moving, real estate brokerage and other costs associated with the moves

    The first to leave may do well for themselves, but the market will fall as dilution continues.

    This is a good thing. Beltway bandits are benefit maximizers. They will jump off the sinking ship quickly.

    • #16
  17. aardo vozz Member
    aardo vozz
    @aardovozz

    mildlyo (View Comment):

    A good start.

    Next move the IRS to Fairbanks.

    Then the HHS HQ to Puerto Rico.

    If you are going to move the IRS to Alaska, it should be Barrow, Point Hope, Attu, or Kiska

    • #17
  18. GrannyDude Member
    GrannyDude
    @GrannyDude

    This is splendid.  At the very least, the money that is concentrated in DC could and should be spread around. Alabama could probably host the Department of Education. I’ll bet Betsy would be okay with that. And why should the farmers of Iowa make do with Skype chats and emails from their Department of Agriculture “servants’ while the baristas at the Georgetown Starbucks get actual face time? Move the DOA to Cedar Rapids, dammit! And the EPA can move to Florida, there to monitor the rising seas in real time. 

    • #18
  19. GrannyDude Member
    GrannyDude
    @GrannyDude

    Though I am sympathetic to Western Chauvinist. The thought of any agency—HUD, say—moving to Maine gives me the willies. But yeah, we could use the jobs. Put ’em in Lewiston, where they can help the Somali refugees assimilate up-close-and-personal. (Plus, there are some cool old factories there that would make fabulous loft apartments!)

    • #19
  20. Matt Bartle Member
    Matt Bartle
    @MattBartle

    I’m not sure I like this idea. Now another community will come to like its pipeline of money from Washington and enjoy well-paying jobs that depend on the federal government. Pretty soon they’ll spread these offices around and there won’t be any place in the U.S. that doesn’t have a personal interest in higher spending.

    Although I suppose that’s true already in one way or another.

    • #20
  21. Goldwaterwoman Thatcher
    Goldwaterwoman
    @goldwaterwoman

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.: Leave the departments of State, Defense and Treasury in Washington; those are the only three outlined in the Constitution to begin with. If we aren’t going to consolidate or eliminate the other agencies, at least move them closer to their mission.

    Most importantly, moving the agencies closer to flyover states will force the East Coast-based press to fan out across the country where the affected constituents live. 

    • #21
  22. Al French, sad sack Moderator
    Al French, sad sack
    @AlFrench

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):

    Did anyone ask the residents of Grand Junction how they feel about swamp dwellers moving into their territory? I mean, for Pete’s sake, Colorado doesn’t have enough socialists yet after importing all those Californians?? Have you heard about our red-flag gun grabbing governor and the recall petition against him?

    I have trouble getting too excited about this. I’d rather the BLM sold off 90% of federal lands and helped pay down the debt. After which, we could just shut down the BLM and reduce spending even more.

    But, I’ll be in Grand Junction next week. Maybe I’ll ask the residents myself.

    One like is not enough.

    • #22
  23. Maddy Member
    Maddy
    @Maddy

    Goldwaterwoman (View Comment):

    Skyler (View Comment):
    What puzzles me is how this came about. Did the secretary just dictate it?

    I agree that it should be moved but am also left wondering how this came about. Can this be attributed to Trump?

    I live in GJ.  Sen Gardner has been working on it for years.  I’m hoping the swamp dwellers will refuse to move here and they’ll have to hire locals who actually know the land.

    • #23
  24. Al French, sad sack Moderator
    Al French, sad sack
    @AlFrench

    Judge Mental (View Comment):

    Who else was wondering why Black Lives Matter was moving to a state without black people?

    Someone who lives east of the Mississippi? For a lot of us westerners the BLM is part of our daily lives.

    • #24
  25. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    Al French, sad sack (View Comment):

    Judge Mental (View Comment):

    Who else was wondering why Black Lives Matter was moving to a state without black people?

    Someone who lives east of the Mississippi? For a lot of us westerners the BLM is part of our daily lives.

    When I was in college last century, I wrote a paper on the strip mining operations defacing the Front Range in view of Colorado Springs. This is what the BLM means to me — artificially low values on lands exploited for mining and development. It’s not even as if precious metals were being extracted. It’s road base they took out of Queen’s Canyon. I’ve lived here long enough to see the scar green over, no thanks to the BLM. 

    Government sucks. 

    • #25
  26. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown
    @CliffordBrown

     

    Basil Fawlty (View Comment):

    Just wait until you see the bill for relocating all those swamp dwellers to their new Western retirement properties.

     

    No. The drill is this:

    1. Swamp dweller relocates with special temporary allowance.
    2. Swamp dweller retires or quits and finds a job back around the beltway.
    3. Organization is now swamp free.

    I have seen this drill, which takes about 18 months total, twice with multi-star headquarters.

    • #26
  27. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):
    I’d rather the BLM sold off 90% of federal lands and helped pay down the debt.

    An idea who’s time has come.  Have you seen a map of how much of the western states is actually owned by the Feds?  Staggering . . .

    • #27
  28. DrewInWisconsin Coolidge
    DrewInWisconsin
    @DrewInWisconsin

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.: When Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue decided to relocate 547 employees from the Beltway to Kansas City, workers protested, standing with their backs to their boss. Just imagine, agricultural regulators were forced to associate with farmers. Eww.

    It was a disgraceful act. I would have fired every single one.

    • #28
  29. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    DrewInWisconsin (View Comment):

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.: When Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue decided to relocate 547 employees from the Beltway to Kansas City, workers protested, standing with their backs to their boss. Just imagine, agricultural regulators were forced to associate with farmers. Eww.

    It was a disgraceful act. I would have fired every single one.

    Relocating them will be a worse punishment.  Hehe . . .Actually, I think a lot of them would like Kansas City.  I’ve visited a couple of times on business, and had a great time.

    • #29
  30. DrewInWisconsin Coolidge
    DrewInWisconsin
    @DrewInWisconsin

    Stad (View Comment):

    DrewInWisconsin (View Comment):

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.: When Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue decided to relocate 547 employees from the Beltway to Kansas City, workers protested, standing with their backs to their boss. Just imagine, agricultural regulators were forced to associate with farmers. Eww.

    It was a disgraceful act. I would have fired every single one.

    Relocating them will be a worse punishment.

    . . . for Kansas City. ; )

    Hehe . . .Actually, I think a lot of them would like Kansas City. I’ve visited a couple of times on business, and had a great time.

    I have a brother-in-law in Kansas City, but I’ve never been to visit. I’ve only driven through on my way to Texas. And driving through Kansas City on I-35 is my least favorite part of the journey. I swear that whoever designed that route was drunk.

    • #30

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