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Chair Grijalva Rejects Bernhardt Offer to "Discuss" BLM Relocation, Presses Standing Demand for Cost-Benefit Analysis and Other Documents

Washington, D.C. – Chair Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) today sent a letter to Interior Secretary David Bernhardt reiterating the Committee’s long-standing demand for the Trump administration’s cost-benefit analysis and other documents related to the decision to move Bureau of Land Management (BLM) headquarters staff to Grand Junction, Colo. Grijalva’s letter is a response to a Dec. 31, 2019, letter from Bernhardt, in which he claims without any justification that “the Department can conclude, with no limitation,” its relocation effort – despite Congress’ fiscal year 2020 budget specifically criticizing Bernhardt for failing to consult with Congress on the move and directing him to begin a series of regular congressional briefings on its progress.

In the new letter, available at http://bit.ly/2Qx7lbQ, Grijalva writes that Bernhardt’s offer of an in-person conversation “is part of a pattern whereby we request data and you offer to meet for a discussion. Your feelings about moving BLM headquarters to Colorado are clear and I do not require a meeting to discuss them. What I require is the supporting data you say you have, but will not provide.”

As Grijalva notes, he previously sent letters and document requests on the issue on July 23, Sept. 25, Nov. 14, Dec. 4 and Dec. 16. The full Committee held an oversight hearing on the issue on Sept. 10, at which Acting BLM Director William Perry Pendley said his goal would be to keep every BLM employee affected by the move working at the agency.

Bernhardt and Pendley have never publicly provided a substantive cost-benefit analysis of the move, which seems motivated at least in part by White House Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney’s publicly stated desire to force federal employees to leave their jobs by relocating offices and otherwise making their lives more difficult.

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