Trump nominates Pendley for BLM, garnering mixed reaction
President Donald Trump on Friday announced his intent to nominate William Perry Pendley as director of the Bureau of Land Management, a division of the Interior Department that manages federal lands that many western ranchers rent for livestock grazing.
Pendley currently serves as BLM deputy director for policy and programs. “In this role, he has worked to increase recreational opportunities on and access to our nation’s public lands, heighten concern for the impact of wild horses and burros on public lands, and increase awareness of the bureau’s multiple-use mission,” the White House said in an announcement.
Pendley was president of Mountain States Legal Foundation for 30 years and practiced law in the Washington, D.C., area. He also served in the Reagan administration as Interior deputy assistant secretary for energy and minerals, and was an attorney to the late Sen. Clifford Hansen, R-Wyo.
Pendley received his bachelor of arts and master of arts degrees from the George Washington University and his law degree from the University of Wyoming. He also served as a captain in the Marine Corps.
Kaitlynn Glover, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association executive director of natural resources and Public Lands Council executive director, said, “We appreciate the president’s focus on providing permanent leadership at the BLM. The BLM manages millions of acres that are critical to Western communities and livestock producers. Strong leadership is a key component in providing certainty in these uncertain times. Mr. Pendley has strong connections to the West and we look forward to working with him. I urge the Senate to move swiftly through the confirmation process.”
But Public Citizen President Robert Weissman said “Pendley is currently a bureau deputy director who has been exercising the authority of the director temporarily, allowing him to skirt a confirmation hearing.”
Wessiman added, “William Perry Pendley is an anti-government extremist and climate change denialist who embodies the Trump administration’s desire to do the bidding of dirty energy corporations. Throughout the pandemic, U.S. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt and Pendley have taken preferential treatment of oil and gas executives to a new level, expediting requests from companies to allow them to avoid paying a fair price for drilling on our public lands. The U.S. Senate should promptly hold a hearing and vote to reject this extreme nominee.”
House Natural Resources Committee ranking member Rob Bishop, R-UItah, said, “William Pendley brings the perspective and experience that is needed to help BLM avoid bureaucratic inertia and overcome decades of chronic federal lands mismanagement.”
“The arrows lodged at him by fringe left special interest groups tell us that we have the right man for the job,” Bishop said. “I appreciate all of the work Mr. Pendley is already carrying out at the department.”
Backcountry Hunters & Anglers President and CEO Land Tawney urged the Senate to reject the nomination.
“William Perry Pendley has built a career on attempting to dismantle our public lands and waters and take down agencies like the BLM,” Tawney said in a news release.
“His views and actions should repulse anyone who cares about our shared landscapes. We look forward to Mr. Pendley’s resume receiving scrutiny and thorough vetting through the Senate confirmation process. And we look forward to our Senate leaders concluding that Mr. Pendley must not be given the keys to the BLM.” ❖