HELENA, MT – Late last week, The Hill reported on the illegal tenure of William Perry Pendley as acting Bureau of Land Management director. Pendley is defiantly continuing in his role after unlawfully serving as the acting BLM director for 424 days despite Interior officials knowing his succession was illegal and a Montana judge ruling it was both illegal and unconstitutional. Environmental groups recently filed a lawsuit against the Bureau to overturn an oil and gas favored Colorado land-use plan that was approved under Pendley’s unlawful tenure.
Pendley’s questionable conflicts of interest, deep ties to Big Oil, and racist and bigoted views have no place in the public realm, but now the Interior Department is setting the stage to needlessly appeal the ruling.
“Trump’s corrupt political appointees at the Interior Department and Bureau of Land Management are creating a morass of regulatory and legal uncertainty. There is no justifiable reason for Pendley to be pulling a taxpayer funded paycheck. A federal judge ruled his appointment unconstitutional and his succession illegal, yet he is still influencing and involved in decisions that are undermining America’s cherished public lands,” said Western Values Project director Jayson O’Neill. “Every elected official that proports to support America’s public lands should demand a pink slip for Pendley.”
A dust up followed a letter by House Natural Resources Chairman Grijalva to Interior Secretary David Bernhardt that detailed several ramifications of Pendley’s illegal tenure. Instead of addressing the Chairman’s warnings and following District Judge’s ruling, Interior’s press secretary cavalierly mocked it in a tweet that can only be described as a wildly unprofessional offence that would normally result in someone’s termination.
Racism and bigotry have no room in public service or in the Bureau of Land Management, especially when it directly impacts the Indigenous people who have lived on that land for centuries. We are calling for Pendley to, rightfully so, be fired.
For previous Western Values Project research and statements on Pendley click here.