William Perry Pendley Reauthorized As Acting Director Of BLM, Groups Protest His Arrival In Grand Junction

An unwelcoming committee waits for Acting Deputy Director William Perry Pendley to arrive Thursday at the Bureau of Land Management office in Grand Junction, Colo. Courtesy photo


On Thursday United States Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt reauthorized William Perry Pendley as acting deputy director for the Bureau of Land Management. Pendley has served as acting deputy director of the Bureau of Land Management since July 2019. 
In reaction to the news Political Director Brent Bolin of Clean Water Action said, “William Perry Pendley has repeatedly demonstrated that he is unfit to lead BLM, whether it be his decades long commitment to the sell off of federal lands, his more recent statement that wild horses are the biggest threat facing public lands, or his politically motivated relocation of BLM headquarters that is weakening the agency by forcing out senior staff. Pendley should never have been appointed, and this latest extension of his term as acting director is a great reminder that he should resign or be removed from his position.”
Chair Phil Francis of the Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks added, “The Bureaus at the Department of the Interior do not operate in a vacuum. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands often surround or are neighbors to national parks – and these parks depend on compatible land management to retain ecosystem, cultural, and historical integrity. Decisions made by BLM regarding our public lands have an impact on our national parks. William Perry Pendley has not been an advocate for public lands. His continued leadership at BLM poses a threat to our national parks and the irreplaceable resources they protect and preserve.”
Earlier Thursday, as Acting Deputy Director Pendley arrived at Bureau of Land Management office in Grand Junction, Colo., to ostensibly get the BLM’s relocation operation up and running, members of Clean Water Action, Rig to Flip and other local conservation groups met him with an “unwelcoming committee” protest featuring swamp monster costumes and masks, and nefarious Pendley-inspired mustaches. 
According to the groups, Pendley’s background demonstrates that he is a foe of America’s public lands. As recently as 2016, Pendley argued that the U.S. Constitution “requires” the federal government to sell the lands it owns in the West. For nearly 30 years Pendley was president of the Mountain States Legal Foundation (MSLF), where he frequently sued federal agencies to challenge conservation policies and regulations, including national monument designations—successful economic drivers for many nearby communities. Under his direction, the MSLF publicly supported scofflaw Cliven Bundy, who led an armed standoff with BLM officials in 2014 over Bundy’s unpaid grazing fees.

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