Trump’s Anti-Public Lands Extremist Puts Himself In Charge Of America’s Public Lands

After White House Pulled Pendley’s Nomination, Succession Order Puts Fox In Charge of Henhouse Indefinitely 

The Associated Press is reporting that Trump’s extremist and racist Bureau of Land Management ‘acting’ director William Pendley wrote the succession order that put him in charge of America’s largest land managing agency. This news comes after the Interior Department claimed for months that Pendley was operating under a secretarial ‘succession order.’ The order did not address several other acting directors at the Interior Department, including the National Park Service and the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement positions.

“Only under the corrupt, flawed logic of Trump’s former oil lobbyist turned-Secretary David Bernhardt would this illegal activity even be attempted. Senators that remain silent are capitulating to the Trump administration’s continued efforts to usurp the U.S. Constitution, violate the law, and exploit our public lands,” said Jayson O’Neill, Western Values Project Director. “If Pendley is unfit to be confirmed then he is certainly unfit for government employment and should be immediately removed before he costs taxpayers another penny.”

The order followed over three and a half years of ‘acting’ directors running the bureau under 32 different versions of a redelegation of authority memorandum issued by the Interior Secretary. Those orders where challenged in a lawsuit brought by two watchdog groups on May 11, 2020. After the lawsuit, Interior and Secretary Bernhardt pivoted to secretarial ‘succession’ of duties authority according to reporting by E&E News.

The new ‘succession order’ obtained by the Associated Press is not a secretarial order, but a succession order written and signed by Pendley that puts Pendley indefinitely in charge of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The order specifies that the political BLM position created specifically for Pendley and that he currently holds, deputy director for policy and programs, would be the first position in the line of succession.

The order runs afoul of both the Federal Vacancies Reform Act and the U.S. Constitution’s ‘advise and consent’ provision, according to Montana Governor Steve Bullock’s office. Bullock filed suit against the Trump administration for the illegal practice last month.

“It’s glaringly clear that Secretary Bernhardt isn’t a sophisticated lawyer but more of a crooked political hack tasked with doing the bidding of President Trump’s special interest allies at all costs, even if that means violating both the law and U.S. Constitution,” said O’Neill.

A recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) investigation found that Trump’s Department of Homeland Security had illegally granted acting authority in violation of the agency’s succession order. Secretary Bernhardt and the Interior Department have yet to confirm the existence of a secretarial ‘succession order’ or make it public.

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