2018 OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE MONTANA PETROLEUM ASSOCIATION
Reeling in Regulatory OverreacH CONTINUEd
Among all these regulatory changes in recent months, there
is one initiative that reflects the fundamental changes we see
from Washington. The Interior Department is working to move
BLM’s headquarters outside of the nation’s capital and to the
West, closer to the land and the people it serves.
Moving BLM to a western state makes sense. Of the 248.2 million
acres it manages, 99.6% are west of the Mississippi River. Yet the
agency leadership and policymakers are located in DC. Because of
the large footprint of federal lands in the West, BLM decisions disproportionately
The agency is currently analyzing the eventual location and number
of jobs to be relocated under its broader reorganization plan. The
initiative has bipartisan support within Congress, among governors
and local elected officials.
Regardless of whether 100 or 2,000 jobs are moved, this would set
an important precedent for relocating other federal agencies to decentralize
power in Washington in the future.
After nearly a year and a half of addressing overreaching regulations,
Secretary Zinke recently indicated that the Interior Department
is shifting focus. The agency will focus on ensuring the direction
from the administration is making it into the field. It’s one thing
to issue a direction, and another to ensure that staff on the ground
carry out those changes. For example, the directive to streamline permitting
needs to be followed with results to significantly reduce the
number of days to get a permit from 260 days.
As the process unfolds, Western Energy Alliance will continue
working to achieve lasting reform at all levels of BLM and the Interior
Department. We will also continue to be the voice of reason to
counter the excess of uninformed information from environmental
groups about our industry.
Aaron Johnson joined Western Energy Alliance in November 2013. Prior
to Western Energy Alliance, Aaron served on Capitol Hill for U.S.
Representative Bob Schaffer and U.S. Representative Marilyn Musgrave
and worked in the defense contracting and consumer electronics sectors.
He is responsible for media relations and community outreach. Aaron
received his MBA from George Mason University and B.A. in Economics
at the University of Colorado.