July 21, 2020

Udall, Heinrich, Western Senators Lead Call for Expedited Hearing on Anti-Public Lands Crusader William Perry Pendley’s Nomination to Bureau of Land Management

Senators: “It is critical for Mr. Pendley to finally step into the sunlight and give the U.S. Senate and the public an opportunity to review his troubling record”

WASHINGTON – Following President Trump’s formal nomination of anti-public lands activist William Perry Pendley to lead the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), U.S. Senators Tom Udall (D-N.M.), ranking member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies, and Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, joined several Western senators in calling for an expedited Senate confirmation hearing for Pendley, who was installed as the de facto Acting Director of the agency, by Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, nearly a year ago without a confirmation hearing or vote. Pendley’s installation allowed him to serve in the position without Senate approval and to avoid answering for his career built on pushing the federal government to sell off its public lands.

The senators wrote that Pendley’s long career of hostility towards the public lands he now oversees is disqualifying and urged the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee to expedite the confirmation hearing so Pendley can answer for his troubling record of anti-public lands advocacy before the American public.

Udall and Heinrich both have expressed their strong opposition to Pendley leading the BLM.

“As U.S. Senators representing the West, we understand that the management of our public lands is inextricably tied to our proud outdoor heritage and economy,” the senators wrote. “The Bureau of Land Management plays an integral role in all of our communities and we do not believe Mr. Pendley is fit to oversee the agency… The American public deserves the opportunity to review how Mr. Pendley’s history conflicts with the important role of overseeing the Bureau of Land Management.”

“Public land management is built on collaboration and community input,” the senators continued. “Mr. Pendley has supported extremists, defended leases issued on sacred tribal land without tribal consultation, and worked to undermine wildlife habitat protections based on years of careful negotiations. He has proven unwilling to work with local communities on collaborative solutions and is not a credible honest broker on land management or tribal sovereignty issues that come before the agency.

“Mr. Pendley has run the Bureau of Land Management for nearly a year, without Senate confirmation or even a nomination. Now that President Trump has submitted his nomination, it is critical for Mr. Pendley to finally step into the sunlight and give the U.S. Senate and the public an opportunity to review his troubling record.”

Pendley has various flagrant conflicts of interest with issues before BLM stemming from his time running the anti-public lands group Mountain States Legal Foundation, and he has served as counsel for Solenex LLC, the firm seeking to restore illegally-issued drilling leases in the sacred Badger-Two Medicine Area. Pendley has also encouraged armed standoffs between federal law enforcement officials and ranchers, and once wrote an article titled “The Federal Government Should Follow the Constitution and Sell Its Western Lands.”

Udall and Heinrich were joined by Senators Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), and Michael Bennet (D-Colo.).

The Senators’ letter is available HERE.