WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Sens. Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich announced that the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has heeded their call to reconsider a proposal to merge the New Mexico and Arizona state offices and will allow the offices to remain separate. The senators released the following statement:
“New Mexico’s many unique public lands issues — including our landscape’s strong connection to our state’s history and culture — require strong leadership from the Bureau of Land Management. Having our own BLM state director has worked well for decades, and we shared many New Mexicans’ questions about whether combining offices with Arizona would hurt BLM’s local services and its ability to balance the many competing uses of our natural resources. BLM manages outdoor recreation, mineral leasing and other activities on 13.4 million acres of public land in our state, and New Mexico communities deserve leadership that understands the unique issues we face. The agency’s decision to keep a dedicated New Mexico office is a sign that it remains committed to addressing these local challenges. We look forward to BLM selecting a new New Mexico State Director in the near future.”
In June, Udall and Heinrich, along with U.S. Reps. Ben Ray Luján and Michelle Lujan Grisham, sent a letter to BLM Director Neil Kornze expressing concerns that a merger would conflict with the land management missions of both states.