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Jun 26, 2020

Tester to Trump: Pendley Must Answer for Decades of Anti-Public Land Activism

Senator: “While I strongly oppose his nomination, I encourage you to expedite this process so he can testify before the American people immediately and be held accountable for his anti-public lands record and views”

Following news that President Trump intends to formally submit the nomination of William Perry Pendley to run the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), U.S. Senator Jon Tester urged the president to expedite Pendley’s nomination so he can answer for his decades of anti-public lands activism before the Senate.

“While I strongly oppose his nomination, I encourage you to expedite this process so he can testify before the American people immediately and be held accountable for anti-public lands record and views,” Tester wrote. “For far too long, Acting Director Pendley has run the BLM without submitting himself to a public process. He has a long track record undermining our public lands.”

Pendley was installed as Acting Director at BLM last summer by Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, allowing Pendley to serve in the position without Senate approval and without answering for his career built on calls for the federal government to sell off the lands he now oversees. Tester railed against the decision, citing deep opposition to Pendley’s views and calling it an end-around on the Senate’s responsibility to confirm federal leadership positions.

“Acting Director Pendley publicly supported selling off our public lands, much of which he currently manages today,” Tester continued. “He worked against local communities when he fought to drill in the Badger-Two Medicine area in Montana. He has worked for years to eliminate or gut environmental protections that preserve our public lands and the jobs that depend on them. In his current role, Acting Director Pendley is subject to so many conflicts of interests it is incredibly difficult to see how he can remain independent while overseeing the BLM. A traditional public vetting process will allow the American people to finally get answers to questions they have waited nearly a year to ask him.”

Tester concluded by urging Trump to expedite the submission of Pendley’s nomination so he can be held accountable for his anti-public lands advocacy before the Senate before August 7th.

Earlier this month Tester wrote to Bernhardt urging him to remove Pendley, who has repeatedly stated his desire to sell off America’s public lands and who was forced to recuse himself from a large portion of BLM’s portfolio due to various flagrant conflicts of interest.

Pendley previously ran the anti-public lands group Mountain States Legal Foundation, served as counsel for Solenex LLC, the firm seeking to restore illegally-issued drilling leases in the sacred Badger-Two Medicine Area, and has encouraged armed standoffs between federal law enforcement officials and ranchers.

Tester’s letter to Trump is available HERE.

Office Contact Information

Senator Tester's Montana staff serves the state from offices in Billings, Bozeman, Butte, Great Falls, Helena, Kalispell, and Missoula. Please bring your concerns with federal agencies, academy nominations, and other situations to one of these Montana offices.


Judge Jameson Federal Building
2900 4th Ave N, Suite 201
Billings, MT 59101
Phone: (406) 252-0550
Fax: (406) 252-7768


Avant Courier Building
1 E Main Street, Suite 202
Bozeman, MT 59715
Phone: (406) 586-4450
Fax: (406) 586-7647


Silver Bow Center
125 W Granite, Suite 200
Butte, MT 59701
Phone: (406) 723-3277
Fax: (406) 782-4717

Great Falls

119 1st Avenue N, Suite 102
Great Falls, MT 59401
Phone: (406) 452-9585
Fax: (406) 452-9586


Capital One Center
208 N Montana Avenue, Suite 202
Helena, MT 59601
Phone: (406) 449-5401
Fax: (406) 449-5462


8 Third Street E
Kalispell, MT 59901
Phone: (406) 257-3360
Fax: (406) 257-3974


130 W Front St.
Missoula, MT 59802
Phone: (406) 728-3003
Fax: (406) 728-2193

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