The Bureau of Land Management is responsible for wild horses in the West. (Carolyn Van Houten/The Washington Post)

September 20 at 8:09 PM

The Bureau of Land Management has selected a site for its new headquarters in Grand Junction, Colo. — and it’s in a building that also serves as the home to a Chevron corporate office, a state oil and gas association, and an independent natural gas exploration company.

Trump officials decided in July to move the BLM — which oversees energy leasing, grazing and other activities on federal land — out of the District of Columbia. The move is to be completed by the end of next year.

While the Interior Department is dispersing the employees to several states, the bureau’s top leadership will move to Grand Junction.

“Standing up the headquarters is another step in providing better service to the American people and our neighbors in the West,” said Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, who grew up in the town of Rifle, an hour’s drive away from Grand Junction.

In a statement, the department said the lease at 760 Horizon Drive “will provide BLM with office space for national senior leadership and support staff,” including 19 vacant staff positions that are now being advertised. “The lease terms will provide the bureau with significant cost savings compared to the current arrangement in D.C.,” the statement said.

Public lands are meant to be protected not destroyed by for profit companies.

The four-story office building with two wings is home to more than just Chevron, Laramie Energy, and a branch of the Colorado Oil and Gas Association. In addition, the building has offices of Shaw, a major construction firm; Moody Insurance Agency; ProStar Geocorp, a provider of geospatial software; and a firm providing cloud storage for school districts, according to one of the building’s tenants.

Located on the Rockies’ Western Slope, Grand Junction lies in the heart of a natural gas reservoir, and the region hosts a number of oil and gas operations. While more than 90 percent of the bureau’s staff already work in the West, Interior officials said they were moving most of the staff to the region so they could work closer to the people most affected by the agency’s decisions.

One environmental group that focuses on public lands criticized the move.

“Since you can’t physically get in bed with industry, it seems like Bernhardt did the next best thing by moving in next door,” said Jayson O’Neill, deputy director of the Western Values Project. “Now the agency tasked with protecting and standing up for our public lands will be rubbing elbows with oil executives and sharing a water cooler with extractive interest allies.”

The BLM did not respond to a request for comment about its new neighbors in Grand Junction.