Scherr: It’s time to bring stability to the BLM
A Senate-confirmed Bureau of Land Management director brings stability to an agency that in turmoil for four years. Since a botched and operationally dubious move across the country, the agency has lost 87% of its headquarters staff. As a result, morale is low, and employees need leadership with a vision for how the agency operates going forward. President Joe Biden’s nominee to lead the BLM, Tracy Stone-Manning, has what it takes.
The sooner a BLM director is confirmed, the sooner the agency — in partnership with Interior Secretary Deb Haaland — can tackle necessary conservation priorities for our state and nation. People across the political spectrum agree Stone-Manning is someone they can work with. The “multiple-use” and “sustained yield mandate” require the type of collaborative approach that she has been known for throughout her career.
Thanks to the leadership of Colorado U.S. Sens. Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper, Haaland prioritized a visit to Grand Junction in July to meet with community leaders. Among the topics discussed were the passage of the Colorado Outdoor Recreation and Economy Act and other protections that our state and our country desperately need.
In the aftermath of the pandemic, our parks and open spaces are facing overcrowding and record visitation, showing that we need more places for our families and communities to gather outdoors to maintain our health and happiness.
Our public lands are a critical part of our state’s economy. In 2018, BLM land contributed $8.8 billion to Colorado’s economy. BLM manages more than 8.3 million acres of land in Colorado, primarily concentrated in the western part of the state. Since Haaland’s visit, Bennet and Hickenlooper and their staff continue to engage the community and stay in touch with the secretary and her staff at the Department of Interior. That’s the kind of leadership our state needs right now.
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Rep. Boebert’s opposition to Stone-Manning’s appointment appears politically motivated and is counterproductive to the larger goal of stability at the BLM. I look forward to Senate confirmation of a BLM director who brings stability to the agency and helps the BLM prioritize conservation among our nation’s public lands. Thank you to Sen. Hickenlooper and Sen. Bennet for your support of Stone-Manning to lead the BLM.
We look forward to a Senate vote to confirm this qualified leader to run one of our state’s most critical land management agencies.
Matt Scherr is an Eagle County Commissioner.