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BLM Office Merger Opposed by Congress

BLM Office Merger Opposed by Congress
May 20
10:47 2015
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US Cong. Paul Gosar

The Bureau of Land Management wants to merge its Arizona and New Mexico offices, but some politicians are not behind the idea.

U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) and other House members want to see that merger put on hold.

The two offices “face uniquely different management challenges that may be exacerbated by a merger,” the representatives said in a letter to BLM Director Neil Kornze.

Gosar was joined in his concern by Utah Reps. Rob Bishop and Jason Chaffetz, Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) and Tom McClintock (R-CA).

Gosar said he was pleased by the support of senior House leadership from the Natural Resources Committee and the Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

The BLM views the merger as a way to improve efficiency and reduce operating costs. The merger could save as much as $1.2 million a year, according to BLM.

But Gosar calls it a “shortsighted attempt.” He and his colleagues point out in their joint letter that the BLM plans to spend nearly $95 million to acquire new lands, when it can’t even manage the land it already has. They call the merger plan “misguided.”

But the representatives want the BLM to suspend merger plans while it seriously studies the ramifications and analyzes the impacts of previous mergers by federal agencies. Politicians also want the BLM to talk with state and local officials and affected stakeholders.

The merger would harm Arizona, resulting in permitting delays, job loss and increased wildfires, Gosar said.

Between Arizona and New Mexico, BLM administers a total of 25.7 million surface acres of public lands and another 43.5 million subsurface acres.

 

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