“[Zinke’s] view is that we have too many people working in Interior in Washington, D.C., when the work that needs to be done is out in the states and particularly in the West, and he wants to move a lot of the management decisions and a lot of the people from Washington out to the states…”

Rocky Barker

Idaho Statesman

Idaho Republican Rep. Mike Simpson says the Trump administration is looking at reorganizing federal land agencies to move more people out of Washington, D.C., and closer to the land they manage in the West.

Several efforts were made in previous administrations to move the U.S. Forest Service out of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and into the Department of Interior, where other land, water and fish, and wildlife management agencies are housed. Simpson, speaking at a conference on public lands convened Tuesday by the Andrus Center for Public Policy at Boise State University, was skeptical that the Department of Agriculture would want to give up the forestry agency.

“That’s a discussion were going to have, but I think you’ll see more coordination between the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management,” Simpson said.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and Simpson talked specifically about moving the BLM headquarters, which manages 247 million acres across 12 Western states, to a Western city like Denver. Simpson said he put a plug in for Boise, home of the National Interagency Fire Center that coordinates U.S. wildland firefighting.

“His view is that we have too many people working in Interior in Washington, D.C., when the work that needs to be done is out in the states and particularly in the West, and he wants to move a lot of the management decisions and a lot of the people from Washington out to the states,” Simpson said. “I think that’s a good thing.”

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