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Bennet backs BLM move to Western state
Moving the Bureau of Land Management headquarters out of Washington, D.C., has the conditional support of U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo.
Any move out of the nation's capital could earn Bennet's support "as long as the move is more than symbolic and includes resources to better manage our public lands," his office said in a statement.
Sen. Cory Gardner and Rep. Scott Tipton, both Colorado Republicans, offered companion bills in the House and Senate to move the agency's headquarters, which employs about 600 people, to a Western state.
Gardner and Tipton both pointed to Grand Junction as a likely location for the agency, noting its location in the midst of BLM-administered lands and accessibility by air at Grand Junction Regional Airport.
U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter, D-Arvada, joined the House bill as a co-sponsor in June, soon after he announced his campaign for governor. He ceased the campaign in July, but remains as a co-sponsor on Tipton's measure.
U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, D-Boulder, a current candidate for governor, joined the bill as a co-sponsor on Monday.
Colorado is home to many of the nation's treasured landscapes, Polis said Wednesday in a statement.
"There are many, many areas in Colorado that would offer a wonderful home to the BLM, and Mesa County — and other counties that it would be a good fit for — deserve to be in the running if the move occurs," Polis said. "Truly any place in Colorado will move the BLM closer to the vast public lands we all cherish and share, and that is a good thing."
All the Republican members of the Colorado delegation are co-sponsors and the remaining representative, Denver Democrat Diana DeGette, was said by her office to be considering the measure.
The Bureau of Land Management administers about 247 million acres, almost all of which are in the West. About 1,500 of Mesa County's 3,300 square miles are administered by the BLM.