WASHINGTON, D.C. – (RealEstateRama) – Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) announced today she will introduce a bill to require the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) headquarters to be located in the National Capital Region (NCR). Norton has vowed to fight the Trump administration’s plans to relocate most of the BLM’s D.C. workforce outside of the NCR, which the Washington Post reports will impact roughly 300 employees. Norton’s bill will require BLM’s headquarters, as well as all positions located in D.C. as of the date of the introduction of the bill, be located in the NCR. The administration’s attempt to move BLM employees mirrors the Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) attempts to illegally move two of its offices in the NCR to Kansas City. Norton successfully included provisions in fiscal year 2020 House spending bills to block USDA from moving to Kansas City.
This July, reports emerged that top scientists are deserting the USDA in high numbers, devastating the agency’s scientific work. Unless measures are taken to stop the sabotage of BLM, Norton fears the same outcome could await this agency.
“Ninety-five percent of BLM staff work outside the National Capital Region, while those employed at headquarters serve a vital role in keeping Congress and the president informed of its activities,” Norton said. “The administration’s only objective, it seems, is to sabotage this important agency. Congress cannot do its work to write laws without the unvarnished facts that nonpartisan agencies give. Staff losses at BLM and USDA will directly hurt public lands, small-town farmers, and our agriculture policy, not to mention impact hundreds of federal employees and their families. Just as I did with USDA, I will continue to fight these misguided, politically motivated relocation efforts at the BLM.”
In 2018, at the request of Norton and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD), the USDA Inspector General began reviewing the proposed move of their two offices. In June, the House passed Norton’s amendment to prohibit the General Services Administration from using its funds to relocate the USDA offices.