September 15, 2020

VIDEO: Udall, Senate Democrats Demand Removal of Anti-Public Lands Zealot William Pendley from Position Leading Bureau of Land Management

In back-to-back floor speeches, Senators Udall (D-N.M.), Heinrich (D-N.M.), Manchin (D-W.Va.), Rosen (D-Nev.), and Bennet (D-Colo.) called on the Trump administration to remove Pendley from leadership role of BLM after his dead-on-arrival nomination was withdrawn due to bipartisan opposition

As the West burns, Trump administration is circumventing the law to keep Pendley – a climate change denier of the first order – in charge of 10% of all American lands and ignoring the devastating consequences of a warming climate


WASHINGTON—Today, U.S. Senator Tom Udall (D-N.M.), ranking member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies, led U.S. Senators Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.) and Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) in back-to-back floor speeches demanding that the Trump administration remove anti-public lands zealot William Perry Pendley from his improper leadership position of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

After failing to nominate a BLM director for nearly four years, the Trump administration officially nominated Pendley for the role in June but quickly withdrew the nomination after it became clear that Pendley’s extremist views precluded any successful Senate confirmation. However, Pendley continues to “exercise the authority of the Director” at BLM – in a brazen attempt to evade the Senate’s constitutional role and the Federal Vacancies Reform Act. 

“William Perry Pendley embodies the Trump administration’s approach to conservation – they don’t believe in it,” Udall said. “He embodies the Trump administration’s approach to Tribal sovereignty – they don’t respect it. And his continued employment at BLM embodies the Trump administration’s approach to the law and the separation of powers – they’ll trample all over it, every chance they get.”

Udall outlined Pendley’s unlawful occupation of a position overseeing one-tenth of America’s landmass. “The Director of BLM is subject to Senate confirmation. This administration did not bother to nominate anyone for four years – until June of this year when Mr. Pendley was formally nominated.

“From the beginning – the conservation, outdoor recreation, and sportsmen and -women communities have been uniformly opposed to Mr. Pendley’s appointment. But that’s not why the president withdrew his nomination. He withdrew the nomination because Mr. Pendley’s extreme anti-public lands positions made him too toxic for Republican Senators from Western states facing tough reelections.”

Udall listed the litany of Pendley’s anti-public lands, racist and anti-climate actions throughout his career. “Over the course of his 40 year career, he’s established himself as one of the premier anti-public lands crusaders in the nation. He’s repeatedly advocated that the federal government sell off public lands – arguing that was the nation’s founders’ intent.

“Mr. Pendley’s well-documented racist attitudes make him unfit for this role,” Udall continued. “He has disdain for Native Americans, their Tribal sovereignty, and their religious practices. He is virulently anti-immigrant. He smears the Black Lives Matter movement. He’s called Native religious views ‘pantheism,’ ‘paganism’, and ‘cultural myths.’ He’s fought against protecting their sacred sites on federal lands. 

“Pendley’s hostility to science comes as no surprise,” Udall said, turning to President Trump’s recent callous comments on climate change. “He’s working for a president who claimed just yesterday, as he made a belated visit to California, that ‘I don’t think science knows’, referring to climate change. The president claims he knows – insisting ‘It’ll start getting cooler.’ 

“While Mr. Pendley and the president deny the reality of climate change – right now, today – in California and Oregon, BLM and other public lands are burning. While they put their heads in the sand on climate change – the families who have lost loved ones in this unprecedented fire season in that part of the country and the thousands who have lost their homes – don’t have that luxury. In the view of William Pendley, the president and his administration – the West is a place to be plundered for natural resources – and then left to burn.

“William Pendley is an extremist. And he was never going to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate,” Udall concluded. “It’s time he’s shown the door.”

Udall’s full remarks as prepared for delivery can be found here.