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KUNC is among the founding partners of the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration of public media stations that serve the Rocky Mountain states of Colorado, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah and Wyoming.

Trump's Government Reorganization Plan Has Big Impacts In The West

Montana's Upper Missouri River Breaks, from the BLM's Facebook page. https://goo.gl/mRfcFV
Montana's Upper Missouri River Breaks, from the BLM's Facebook page. https://goo.gl/mRfcFV
Montana's Upper Missouri River Breaks, from the BLM's Facebook page. https://goo.gl/mRfcFV
Credit U.S. Bureau of Land Management, https://goo.gl/mRfcFV
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Montana's Upper Missouri River Breaks, from the BLM's Facebook page. https://goo.gl/mRfcFV

U.S. Senate committees will hold hearings this week on the Trump administration's plan to reorganize the government. It includes a department that manages millions of acres of public lands in our region.

Every administration tries to make the government leaner and meaner, but Trump’s plan to do so is one of biggest and boldest in modern history.

“These are very sweeping changes,” said Eric Austin, political scientist at Montana State University. 

Trump’s plan would move the food stamps program from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  It would also merge the U.S. Departments of Education and Labor and it would radically change the U.S. Interior Department.

Austin said employees there could get shuffled around the country and key regulatory positions could lose pay and power.

“And that’ll potentially have a big impact as agencies like the [Bureau of Land Management] are involved in mineral extraction and timber extraction and other use questions," he said.

However, Austin said previous administrations haven’t been too successful in fully implementing their plans because they need Congress to approve parts of it first.

This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, Yellowstone Public Radio in Montana, KUER in Salt Lake City and KRCC and KUNC in Colorado.

Copyright 2020 Yellowstone Public Radio. To see more, visit Yellowstone Public Radio.