Outdoor Updates: Directors warn that moving BLM to CO will cripple the agency

If BLM headquarters moves to Colorado former directors warn it will cripple the agency

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) announced last week that it will move its headquarters to Grand Junction, Colorado, relocating about 80 percent of the personnel currently residing in Washington D.C. The agency claims the move will put employees closer to the lands and resources that they manage. But two former BLM directors are speaking out, warning that the move is an early effort to dismantle the agency completely and transfer millions of acres of federal lands to the states, Bloomberg reports. 

“I think the endgame is to try to make it almost impossible to manage these public lands,” former BLM director Robert V. Abbey told Bloomberg. Abbey and another former BLM director warn that the move will isolate the agency and render it ineffective, eventually convincing Congress the land would be better managed by the states. Once in the hands of the state, environmental protections could be stripped and the land developed, if that is what the state chooses.  

Plans to mine near Georgia’s Okefenokee Swamp pose ‘substantial risks’

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says that a private company’s plans to mine minerals near Georgia’s Okefenokee Swamp poses “substantial risks,” and potentially irreversible damage, to the environment.

Twin Pines Minerals LLC wants to mine titanium dioxide within four miles of the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge. The permit request is currently under consideration. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is still reviewing the plans but wrote in a memo back in February that the agency has “concerns that the proposed project poses substantial risks for significant affect to the environment,” and that “should impacts occur they may not be able to be reversed, repaired or mitigated for.” 

The swamp has been protected since 1937 and serves as a habitat for alligators, bald eagles, and other protected species. It is the largest federal refuge in the east. The administration of then-President Bill Clinton dismissed a similar mining plan by DuPont 20 years ago. 

96-year-old Virginia man breaks 5K age-group world record

Ninety-six-year-old Roy Englert of Springfield, Virginia, broke the 5K world record for his age group (95 to 99) when he completed a 5K in 42:30:23 at the USATF Masters Outdoor Championship, smashing the previous record of 50:10:56. Englert also holds the world record in his age group for the 800 meters and the 1500 meters as well as the world record for 4×100, 4×400 and 4×800 relay teams.

According to Runner’s World, Englert runs 2-3 miles per day, mostly on a treadmill, near the retirement community where he lives. “It’s fun,” he told Run Washington. “It’s not fun while you’re doing it, but it’s fun when you’re finished. It’s hard work, actually.” 

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