Colorado delegation to lobby Interior nominee to keep Bureau of Land Management

GRAND JUNCTION — Members of Colorado’s congressional delegation and Grand Junction business leaders plan to lobby President Joe Biden’s Interior secretary nominee to keep the headquarters of the Bureau of Land Management in the Western Slope city.

The Grand Junction Sentinel reports that Democratic U.S. Sens. Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper, Republican Rep. Lauren Boebert, Democratic Gov. Jared Polis and local officials met remotely Monday to discuss the effort aimed at Deb Haaland, a Democratic U.S. representative from New Mexico.

The Sentinel reports that Haaland, who is awaiting Senate confirmation proceedings, has criticized the decision by the Donald Trump administration to move the public lands agency headquarters from Washington, D.C., to Grand Junction.

Supporters of the move argued BLM headquarters staff should be closer to the lands they manage. Critics say the effort effectively weakened the agency.

Both senators and Robin Brown of the Grand Junction Economic Partnership suggested asking Haaland to visit the city.

Mesa County Commissioner Cody Davis cited an estimated $120,000 average salary headquarters jobs pay in boosting the local economy.

Interior Department spokeswoman Melissa Schwartz has said the department’s new leadership will study the issue.

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