Monday, April 18, 2016

New Maps

They New York Times had a great piece Sunday on the suggestion that America should draw a new map of itself to reflect its reality.  We have really morphed into a country that depends less on state borders to define itself.  It really is now a region based nation, from the deep south, the east and west coasts, the Rockies(including the Colorado Plateau), and the great and growing urban centers.  It has been my opinion that the rural America that people love to emote over is really a thing of the past.

Some 20 years ago during my short reign as the Director of the Bureau of Land Management I often bridled at the stupidity of the Agency's organizational chart.  Every public land state in the west had its own BLM fiefdom that existed mainly for the sitting politicians in Congress and the Governor's office.  They could apply political pressure for their funders, the coal, oil and livestock boys who Charles Wilkinson referred to as the "Lords of Yesterday."  I have always recommended that every pol and lover of the outdoors read his book, "Crossing the Next Meridian."

I have always thought the BLM should be organized much like the Park Service and Forest Service.  Those bureaucracies base their management on regional concerns.  It would make sense for the BLM to do likewise.  For example, the Colorado Plateau encompasses an area that covers four states.  NM, Colorado, Utah and Arizona.  Yet there are four separate offices trying to deal with the management of a connected landscape.  Ridiculous!

Maybe now that the fossil fuel boys are rapidly approaching their fall from kingmakers to bankruptcy status, we might see some movement to reorganize that BLM white elephant.

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