Today, known anti-public lands extremist and unconfirmed Acting Director of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) William Perry Pendley will appear in front of a House Natural Resources subcommittee to answer questions about the Trump administration’s reckless public lands budget that slashes Interior spending by 16 percent and cuts over half a billion dollars from America’s national parks.
“William Pendley is the worst unconfirmed political appointees wading in President Trump’s swamp. Pendley’s extremist anti-public land views, relevant past, and rampant conflicts of interest speak for themselves. He’d have better luck putting his cowboy hat on the bed than getting through Senate confirmation,” said Jayson O’Neill, Deputy Director of Western Values Project. “Pendley has no business working at Interior but, in Trump’s swamp, Sec. Bernhardt gave him a full-throated endorsement last week. While his appearance is an insult to both the U.S. Constitution and Congress, committee members should take the chance to round up some answers to what exactly he’s doing on the taxpayer dime.”
The Trump administration’s budget includes, among other reckless proposals, a boost in funding for handling what Pendley called an “existential threat” to America’s public lands: wild horses and burros. Given the widespread issues facing public lands – from privatization threats and billions of dollars in unfunded maintenance and crumbling infrastructure to the Trump administration’s historic rollback of lands protections and the evisceration of the National Environmental Policy Act and the Endangered Species Act – Pendley’s bold statement about burros and wild horses was seen as an attempt to distract from the much more pressing existential threats facing the America’s shared lands. Even the report Pendley was set to issue regarding wild horses and burros is several months-past its promised due date.
Just last week, both Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, himself, as well as Susan Combs, Interior’s Assistant Secretary for Policy, Management and Budget tried to defend the Trump administration’s budget, coming up short for explanations behind the deep spending cuts. Bernhardt even went to great lengths to defend Pendley to Montana Senator Jon Tester, yet the Interior Secretary failed to address whether the Trump administration would follow the U.S. Constitution by finally nominating a senate-confirmable director.
It remains unclear for what exactly Pendley gets a tax-dollar funded paycheck for. He touts an extensive recusal list, measuring 17-pages, and outside of one Informational Bulletin on electronic bikes signed by Pendley, he has not signed any publically released orders or memos.
Western Values Project — an Accountable.US project based in Montana, defending America’s public lands — released WilliamPendley.org detailing Pendley’s conflicted and extremist past, urging visitors to contact their Senators and demand they reject Pendley. The watchdog also released WeDrillHQ.com along with a video critical of the controversial decision to uproot the BLM, force career-employees to quit, and co-locate the new headquarters with several oil and gas corporations and associations.