Tipton: Direct flight is not a deal breaker for BLM headquarters
The current lack of a direct flight between Grand Junction and Washington, D.C., isn't a deal killer in negotiations to move the headquarters of the Bureau of Land Management to the West.
In any case, U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Colo., said, the BLM "could pursue a direct flight" to the nation's capital should the agency headquarters end up in the city, Tipton said at the spring meeting of Club 20, the Western Slope lobbying and promotional organization.
Grand Junction is in Tipton's 3rd Congressional District. He and U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., have introduced companion measures to relocate the BLM and while the bills call only for the agency to move west, he's made it clear that Grand Junction is the best location, Tipton said.
In addition to that legislation, Tipton said he was continuing to pursue legislation that would require the federal government to respect state water laws, as well as his Planning for American Energy Act, which would require the federal government to promote development of all energy forms.
The Interior Department's repatriation of $16.5 million to $18 million to northwest Colorado governments from money paid for natural gas leases on the Roan Plateau represented a long-fought victory, Tipton said.
"It's been a collaborative effort" to get the funds, he said, made more difficult by House rules that listed it as an earmark, Tipton said.
He also touted the 2.9 percent increase in the gross domestic product and reduced unemployment under GOP control of Congress and the presidency.
Still, "it's a tale of two economies" in Colorado with rural Colorado lagging behind the Front Range.
The omnibus budget bill he voted for was "ugly," but its necessity was outlined to him by Defense Secretary James Mattis, he said later.
The first priority was national defense and with 60 percent of Navy F-18 Hornets unable to fly for lack of parts, as well as training casualties outnumbering combat ones, those needs had to come first, Tipton said.