Colorado’s Morning News, Steve House, May 2, 2019

Station:    KOA, 850 am

Show:       Colorado’s Morning News

Guests:    Gardner, Cory


Date:       May 2, 2019


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HOST APRIL ZESBAUGH [00:00:03] Our next guest began the push to relocate the Bureau of Land Management to the west in 2016. Now, [there is] confirmation [that] that’s going to happen. Senator Cory Gardner joins us live to talk about the move and why Coloradans should be happy about that. Good morning, Senator.


ZESBAUGH [00:00:17] So, you and Secretary Barnhart have had many conversations about this move.  But where is the BLM, do you think, in the process of deciding whether it should be in Colorado?

GARDNER [00:00:25] Well, I think that’s the best news we’ve had in a long time. They’re now putting money into the budget:  sixty million dollars for this reorganization effort, including the move effort of Bureau of Land Management. So, we’re actually starting to see this go from sort of talking points to real policy.

LENZ [00:00:40] And it makes sense to be out here. And I think last time, Senator, when we talked about this with you a few months back, you said it’d more than likely be on the western slope. Am I right about that?

GARDNER [00:00:47] I did. I think that makes [the] most sense to have it there because it would be surrounded by public lands.  And that’s what this is all about, is allowing the BLM to be surrounded by the people that it affects the most.

ZESBAUGH [00:00:56] How do you think it’s going to change how they manage our lands?

GARDNER [00:00:59] I hope what it does, is it gives more people better access. So whether you’re a county commissioner in Utah or western Colorado or Wyoming it’ll be easier to get to Grand Junction than to Washington D.C. And for those people who are writing rules and regulations, they’ll be hearing from the communities that they affect the most. And so, the products that they come up with will reflect the community values of their public land.

LENZ [00:01:19] So, it really is like property and like buying a home: it’s location, location, location. The fact that it’s located here, where there’s probably the biggest wide swath of land in the U.S., it makes a lot of sense to be centrally located.

GARDNER [00:01:28] Yeah. I mean, you’ve got 99.9% of the acres that this land management agency oversees west of the Mississippi River. And so to have it in Washington D.C., so far removed from almost everything it does, it doesn’t make sense. And so, having it in Grand Junction, surrounded by the people and the lands that it affects the most is a very good outcome.

ZESBAUGH [00:01:46] What’s been the holdup so far?

GARDNER [00:01:48] Yeah, I think this is an idea that’s so new it’s taken us — you know, we started this effort back with Neil Kornze, the head of the Bureau of Land Management Agency for President Obama. It’s just taken a long time for people to kind of grasp the common sense that it is. And so, we keep pushing it. We’ve got legislative efforts behind it. It’s got bipartisan support. It’s got state and federal support. And now it’s finally starting to see that reality.

LENZ [00:02:11] While we have you on, we want to get your thoughts on your Democratic colleague, Michael Bennet, stepping into the race for the White House.

GARDNER [00:02:16] Well, I wish him well. I think any time you have Colorado featured at a national level and the good things that we’ve been doing for Colorado, that’s great news. Now, I may not be voting for him, but I wish him well and [I’m] certainly very glad that he’s recovered from from his prostate surgery.

ZESBAUGH [00:02:28] Yeah, absolutely! Here, here! And in the minute we have left, [what are] your thoughts on A.G. Bell Barr’s testimony yesterday, and would you like to see Mueller testify?

GARDNER [00:02:35] I think Mueller should testify. I’m fine with that. But I think the testimony really revealed what we’ve seen in the report that’s been released. And I think it’s important that we focus on the findings of that report, including making sure we protect our elections from Russian hacking or any other country’s attempts to influence or cause division within our country.

LENZ [00:02:54] Do you think this this process, though, has exacerbated the situation beyond what it already is?

GARDNER [00:02:58] Do you mean in terms of the political divisiveness of it, or–?

LENZ [00:03:00] Yes, absolutely — that, and everything else with what we’ve had.

GARDNER [00:03:03] You know, I think it was good for Bill Barr to come and testify. I think that was important. But, you know, we’ll see what happens next — if people are going to actually use it and try to come up with a good policy, or are they going to try to drive a partisan divide.  That’s really — I guess — up to the individual temperament of the members.  As far as my actions, I’m going to make sure that we take the report and we safeguard this country.

ZESBAUGH [00:03:21] Senator Cory Gardner, thanks so much for the time.

GARDNER [00:03:24] Thank you.