The relocation of Bureau of Land Management headquarters from Washington DC to Grand Junction, Colorado, would have not only caused significant brain drain but would have had such a disproportionate impact on the already-overwhelmingly-white Bureau that its employees of color likely could have sued, an Inspector General report found. The previous administration moved BLM headquarters without a “strategic workforce plan;” a move the Biden administration reversed in September. The IG report found evidence the move caused a, “loss of institutional knowledge about laws and regulations meant that BLM was not able to provide knowledgeable input on proposed rules and legislation.”

Less than 3.5% of the BLM workforce is Black and the number of Black employees in BLM headquarters fell from 126 to 55 during the Trump administration. The percentage of BLM staff with at least 25 years of DOI experience also dropped from 24% to 17%. The headquarters move would have had such racially disparate impacts that House Natural Resources chair Rep. Raúl Grijalva warned at the time that BLM employees could have sued the government for civil rights violations, creating a “significant legal liability that could rival the cost of the entire relocation.” (Washington Post $, E&E News, The Hill, New York Times $, Bloomberg Law, UPI)