The Environmental Protection Agency announced Wednesday the creation of the Office of Mountains, Deserts and Plains to focus on Western issues, including mine cleanup.

"The move comes as the Interior Department is trying to ramp up its presence in the West, having recently completed a controversial move of the Bureau of Land Management's headquarters to Grand Junction, Colo.," Hannah Northey 

reports

 for Energy & Environment News. "It's unclear how the new office will interact with EPA's existing regional office system, and if it will require new employees or draw staffers from elsewhere. Details about costs and official duties are also unknown."


The office headquarters will be in the Denver Federal Center, part of the General Services Administration and already home to more than 6,000 federal employees, Northey reports.

EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler wrote in a guest column in The Gazette in Colorado Springs that the new office will allow the agency to better address regional issues and move away from a "one-size-fits-all approach to environmental remediation."