Democrats Urge Secretary Bernhardt to Remove Pendley as Leader of Bureau of Land Management

August 24, 2020 Updated: August 24, 2020

The Senate Democratic Caucus is demanding that the Trump administration remove William Perry Pendley, the acting head of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) led the Senate Democratic Caucus in a letter to U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary David Bernhardt urging him to remove William Perry Pendley from his position leading the Bureau of Land Management.

Although the White House confirmed in mid-August that Pendley’s name was being withdrawn from the nomination to lead the agency, he remains at the post in an acting role.

In a letter sent out Friday, Democrats said while they were pleased with the decision to withdraw Pendley’s name from being considered for formally and permanently heading up the bureau, they were not satisfied with the fact that he is still in his role as acting head and want him removed entirely from working at the agency.

“We have grave concerns, however, with reports that Mr. Pendley will continue to lead the bureau through his current position as deputy director, exercising the authority of the director,” the senators wrote.

“For the same reasons that Mr. Pendley is unfit to be confirmed as director, he is unfit to exercise the authority of the director without being confirmed, and we ask that you remove Mr. Pendley from this position,” the Democrats added.

The Bureau was formally established in 1946 but its roots go back to America’s independence. According to the BLM website, its mission “is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.”

Democrats criticized Pendley for his policies on managing public lands, which Pendley has articulated in his many books, including, “War on the West: Government Tyranny on America’s Great Frontier,” and “Warriors for the West: Fighting Bureaucrats, Radical Groups, and Liberal Judges on America’s Frontier.”

“Over the years, Mr. Pendley has consistently called for selling off public lands, which runs contrary to the balanced approached to managing public lands policy in the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976,” the Senators wrote in an Aug. 10 letter to President Donald Trump.

Heinrich has also criticized Pendley for “routine attempts to undermine (Native American) tribes.”

“Mr. Pendley’s long public record of advocacy for selling off public lands and reducing access to them, attempts to undermine tribes and tribal sovereignty, and denial of climate change make his beliefs and actions antithetical to either role,” the senators wrote.

The senators criticized the administration for allowing the Department of Interior to use series of temporary delegations of power to keep Pendley in office, even though they have not been confirmed by the Senate.

“Pendley signed a succession order himself months ago that could keep him indefinitely in his role leading the BLM,” they wrote.

The Department of the Interior did not immediately respond to The Epoch Times for comment.

The senators urged the secretary to rid the agency of Pendley, whom they say is not fit to head the agency.

“The Bureau of Land Management requires a qualified leader who supports public lands and the bureau’s critical role in administering them for the American people,” they wrote.