Tester, 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”

Following President Trump’s formal nomination of anti-public lands activist William Perry Pendley to lead the Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Senator Jon Tester today led his Western colleagues in calling for an expedited Senate confirmation hearing for Pendley, who was installed as the de facto acting director of the agency nearly a year ago without a confirmation hearing or vote.

Tester and his colleagues 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.

Tester was joined by Senators Jacky Rosen of Nevada, Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley of Oregon, Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris of California, Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich of New Mexico, and Michael Bennet of Colorado.

“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,” wrote Tester and his colleagues. “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.”

Pendley was installed as the de facto Acting Director at BLM last summer by Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, a move that allowed him to serve in the position without Senate approval and avoid answering for his career built on pushing the federal government to sell off its public lands. Tester railed against the decision, citing deep opposition to Pendley’s views and calling it an end-run around on the Senate’s responsibility to confirm federal leadership positions.

“Public land management is built on collaboration and community input,” Tester and his colleagues 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”.

The Senators’ letter is available HERE.