William Pendley was redelegated by Interior Secretary David Bernhardt to lead the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) for another three months but it seems that during the previous six months, Pendley has not done anything official as Acting BLM Director. It is unclear what Pendley’s role at the bureau is given his extensive recusal list barring him from participating in many local matters, and his disagreement with the Trump administration’s dubious promise to keep public lands in public hands. And with an Interior Department focused on cutting the public out of the conversation, transparency regarding Pendley’s role, responsibilities, and work remains an open question.
“Americans work hard and taxpayers shouldn’t be burdened with the salary of an unconfirmed anti-public lands zealot now leading the BLM. But questions remain: What exactly is Pendley up to? Is he busy undermining the critical bureau, or just loudly shouting his extremist agenda? With the utter lack of transparency from Interior Secretary Bernhardt’s department, Pendley’s role remains murky as best, ” said Deputy Director of Western Values Project Jayson O’Neill. “Besides measuring the curtains at the new BLM headquarters with his oil and gas neighbors, forcing career employees to uproot their lives and move West, and his grandiose multi-billion-dollar plan to reduce wild horses and burros, there is little to no proof Pendley is doing any official work.”
For what exactly Pendley is being paid using taxpayer dollars for remains a mystery. Since joining Interior nearly six months ago, there has been no publicly available proof of Pendley’s work. Outside of one Informational Bulletin on electronic bikes signed by Pendley, he has not signed any publically released orders or memos. While it is fortunate for America’s public lands that William Pendley appears to be nothing more than a figurehead in his role as Acting BLM Director, it is clearly a waste of taxpayer dollars to keep this known anti-public lands extremist running the largest lands management agency in the country.
O’Neill continued, “We know he’s trying to sneak his zealous views through behind closed doors but he also might just be napping behind his desk. Either way, taxpayers shouldn’t be in charge of his paycheck and he shouldn’t be in charge of our public lands.”
Beyond standing by the careless, criticized, and often-deemed reckless talking points concerning the BLM relocation, it seems Pendley has spent the majority of his time making the questionable claim that wild horses and burros are the greatest threat facing America’s public lands. However, even the report he was set to issue regarding wild horses and burros is months-past its promised due date.
Further, Pendley’s recusal list includes stock growers and other entities that represent livestock interests — an industry he represented concerning wild horses and burros, meaning Pendley should be recused from working on any issues concerning the controversial topic.
Western Values Project released WilliamPendley.org detailing Pendley’s conflicted and extremist past, urging visitors to contact their Senators and demand rejection of Pendley. The watchdog also released WeDrillHQ.org along with a video critical of the controversial decision to co-locate the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) new headquarters with several extractive corporations and special interests.