More than six weeks ago, the Trump Administration appointed William Pendley as the acting director of the powerful Bureau of Land Management (BLM). Pendley is a controversial anti-public lands activist whose fringe views put public lands in Arizona at risk – and yet, Senator Martha McSally has remained completely silent on this vital appointment.
“Pendley is an outspoken advocate for transferring public lands out of public hands. Arizona’s outdoor heritage is on the line and McSally is too busy vacationing to even share an opinion on Pendley’s controversial record and appointment,” Chris Saeger, Executive Director of the Western Values Project.
Concerns about Pendley, who joined the BLM as acting director in July, are widespread, from Congress and former top BLM officials to sports groups and tribes. He has spent nearly 30 years suing the federal government on behalf of oil, gas and coal corporations, and has openly called for the federal government to sell all Western public lands.
Pendley previously called for revoking monument designations and repealing the Antiquities Act and has repeatedly criticized former Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke for not going far enough with his illegal monument reduction recommendations. Pendley called the recently gutted Endangered Species Act “the pit bull of environmental law,” claiming that it did not rely on “good science.”
McSally’s inaction on Pendley’s controversial record calls into question McSally’s own record on public lands protections. While McSally has claimed she supports the Land and Water Conservation Fund – a critical public lands and parks program – support seems only to go as far as a talking point will take her. Due to congressional inaction, the legislation continues to languish without funding, jeopardizing public lands in Arizona and across the country.
This isn’t the first time McSally has been silent on issues affecting Arizonans and their public lands. From refusing to take a hardline stance on a controversial mine to refusing to host public town halls, McSally’s silence on protecting Arizona’s outdoor heritage speaks for itself.