33rd Redelegation Of Authority To Give Anti-Public Lands Extremist Another 30 Days As Big Oil Profits Off Of Pendley’s Corrupt Leadership
HELENA, MT – Today, Interior Secretary David Bernhardt is expected to issue the 33rd iteration of a memorandum delegating director authority of the Bureau of Land Management to anti-public lands extremist William Perry Pendley. Western Values Project is releasing research on members of the Petroleum Association of Wyoming who have been granted royalty rate cuts and lease suspensions by the bureau. The Petroleum Association of Wyoming is listed on Pendley’s extensive 17-page recusal matrix, along with some 57 other entities that he is supposed to be recused from participating personally and substantially in.
“Mr. Pendley’s extremist beliefs and extensive conflicts make him unfit to fill any boots in the federal government. But now we find out the bureau he’s been overseeing is handing out royalty rate cuts like candy to members of a Big Oil association he is supposed to be recused from working on,” said Jayson O’Neill, Director of Western Values Project. “Americans and our public lands can no longer afford unchecked self-dealing by Trump administration officials. The culture of corruption runs from the top down under President Trump and political appointees at the Interior Department are prime examples of it.”
Federal law and Trump’s ethics pledge require Pendley to recuse himself from decisions and particular matters that would impact the Petroleum Association of Wyoming (PAW). But the BLM, under Pendley’s direction, issued guidance to all state offices after former oil lobbyist Interior Secretary David Bernhardt promised expedited the processing of bailout requests in the form of royalty cuts and lease suspensions that would benefit PAW and its members.
Western Values Project found that the BLM has granted 348 royalty cuts or lease suspensions on federal oil and gas leases covering 281,630 acres in Wyoming so far. Of those, the BLM granted relief to PAW members Samson Resources, Kirkwood Oil and Gas, LLC, Nerd Gas, Chesapeake Energy, and Northwoods Lands, Inc, among other oil and gas corporations, including cutting rates to 0.5% for some from the already low and outdated 12.5%. The 348 leases will no longer be generating revenue or substantially less revenue which is shared with state and local governments.
Wyoming was already expecting a revenue decline of $1.5 billion and, according to the Interior Department’s Office of Natural Resources Revenue data, as reported by Headwaters Economics Economic Profile System, Federal Land Payments Report, the state received some $330 million from federal oil and gas revenue sharing in 2019.
Last year, state and local governments received nearly half a billion dollars from federal oil royalty revenue sharing that supported local schools, firefighters, and first responders. The Trump administration has failed to indicate whether state and local governments will be made whole with this additional loss of revenue nor has there been any indication that state and local governments were consulted despite requests from the Western Governors Association.
This is hardly the first time Pendley’s recusals and extremist views have raised red flags. Astonishingly, many Western Senators have been silent about Pendley’s post and the Trump administration’s continued violation of the U.S Constitution, with Senators Steve Daines (R-MT) and John Barrasso (R-WY) even going so far as to actually voice open support for Pendley’s leadership at the BLM.