TIME CHANGE: Chair Grijalva, Rep. Haaland, Former BLM Administration Officials to Speak at Wednesday Press Conference on Forced Transfer of D.C.-Based Employees
Washington, D.C. – Chair Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) and Rep. Deb Haaland (D-N.M.), the chairwoman of the Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands, will lead a press conference at 10:30 a.m. Eastern time on Wednesday morning at the U.S. Capitol to discuss the Trump administration’s forced move of hundreds of Bureau of Land Management (BLM) employees to Grand Junction, Colo., and elsewhere across the West. Former BLM Director Bob Abbey and former BLM Deputy Director Henri Bisson will speak at the event to share their perspectives on the move’s potential implications and to encourage the administration to give impacted employees the support and consideration they have so far been denied.
House Democrats have repeatedly asked for evidence of the analysis or planning that BLM used in deciding to move its employees across the country, including through a pair of letters Grijalva sent DOI and BLM in November. Those requests – on April 10, July 23, Sept. 25, Nov. 14 (here and here) and Dec. 4 – have been largely stonewalled, avoided and denied.
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has agreed to Grijalva’s request for a review of how the administration has handled the forced move. Grijalva and other speakers will call on BLM and the administration to make employees available to GAO investigators and to share as much background material as possible on how the move was designed, analyzed, budgeted for, and carried out.
The press conference comes as hundreds of D.C.-based BLM employees face a Dec. 12 deadline to transfer or leave the agency. The event will be livestreamed at http://facebook.com/nrdems.
“The Trump administration describes public servants as nothing more than lazy bureaucrats who deserve to be pushed around, have their lives upended and lectured about the need to get out of Washington,” Grijalva said today. “The forced removal of BLM employees from their homes and places of work isn’t just unprofessional – it’s destructive and cruel. This level of mismanagement and mistreatment, and the stonewalling this Committee has faced in trying to get answers about it, is unacceptable, and BLM needs to cooperate fully and transparently with GAO’s investigation or explain its failure to do so.”
“This administration continues to choose to move forward with decisions, without meaningful tribal consultation, that harm the public lands that all our families enjoy,” Haaland said today. “Their decision to reorganize the BLM will continue to negatively impact Tribes. Interior left Tribes in the dark by neglecting to tell tribal leaders how Interior was interpreting its very own consultation policies. This administration refuses to reconsider this decision, ignoring their responsibility to the future of our communities and, instead, prioritizing their partisan, ideological agendas.”
When: 10:30 a.m. Eastern time
Where: Capitol Visitor Center (CVC) Room 201 AB
Who: Chair Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.)
Rep. Deb Haaland (D-N.M.), chair of the Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands
Bob Abbey, former BLM Director (bio here)
Henri Bisson, former BLM Deputy Director (bio here)
(202) 225-6065 or (202) 578-6626 mobile
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