U.S. Rep Jim Moran (D-8th) said Tuesday the Bureau of Land Management would see reductions in government-appropriated funds if horse operations cease during renovation of the barn at the Meadowood Special Recreation Management Area in Lorton.
Moran said BLM's lack of communication is inexcusable.
"BLM has not been responsive because the website was down, and inexcusably so," Moran told Patch at Great Harvest Bread in Lorton. "I'm confident that they'll listen, because we have substantial leverage and I control their funding. I'm the ranking member of the Interior Appropriations Committee... Unless they want to have their funding cut, I would assume they would want to work with us. It's a reasonable assumption.
"We have a responsibility to our constituents, to the taxpayers. I'm not being punitive to BLM or anyone else, but I do have an interest in them being responsive," Moran said.
BLM receives hundreds of millions of dollars in funding from the federal government.
"I won't completely cut their funding, but I'm confident BLM will want to work with us," Moran said. "They're hard working public servants."
BLM announced on Monday that it was extending the public comment period on its Environmental Assessment of the Meadowood Barn from July 3 to July 24. The public was alerted of the extension Monday on BLM's website, which for weeks suffered a glitch that kept people from commenting. BLM did not indicate a reason for the new deadline in the announcement, but did confirm in earlier emails there were website problems.
Moran and Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-11th) submitted a letter to BLM last month, requesting that horses remain at the aging barn during its renovation, thereby allowing three horse-related businesses to remain in business. The letter was sent to the State Director of the Eastern States Office and asked BLM to scale back the scope of repairs in order to lessen the impact on the animals.
"These seem to be reasonable recommendations that decrease the disruption to horses and riders during this transition period," it said. "And by scaling back some of the design aspects, we can save taxpayer money, potentially using it for future maintenance needs extending the life of the barn post reconstruction."
Click here to read more from Patch's coverage of The Stables at Meadowood situation.