After 20 years on the job, one federal employee decided to draw more attention to the way the Bureau of Land Management is run while on his way out. Stan Olmstead retired from the BLM’s Vernal Field Office last month, but before he did, he sent a memo out to his colleagues across the state, hoping to draw attention to what he calls a broken agency.
On September 28, Stan Olmstead said goodbye to his career as a Natural Resource Specialist and Environmental Scientist with the Bureau of Land Management: "When you enter Natural Resources as a profession and federal service there is usually a personal reason why you do it..you really care about it."
That was the case for Olmstead, who spent 44 years working for public agencies, 20 of those with the BLM. But before leaving all of that behind, Olmstead says he knew there was one more thing he had to do: write a memo.
"My point of the memo was to make one last attempt to communicate with those in charge. And those in charge for whatever reason, I assume it’s political or directives were not listening to the environmental aspect of things."
In his three-page memo, Olmstead says the agency has lost sight of its mission and mangers have overlooked conservation. He cites little effort to protect sensitive wildlife, like the mountain plover, a rare bird, that is in serious decline.
"There were people trying to protect it and trying to protect it. And there was no interest in protecting it. What should have done with that specific specie we probably in 1995 should have stopped leasing, we should have limited our permitting of specific projects, and we should have acknowledged that that specie had value."
Instead, he says the area was filled with oil and gas development along with roads, so wildlife did not stand much of a chance.