Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Trump Pulls Nomination of William Pendley to Head Nation's Public Lands, Yet Pendley Remains in Charge

Politics
Trump Pulls Nomination of William Pendley to Head Nation's Public Lands, Yet Pendley Remains in Charge
BLM staff e-bike with BLM Deputy Director for Policy and Programs William Perry Pendley in Moab, Utah in October 2019. Bureau of Land Management / Flickr / CC by 2.0

By Andrea Germanos

Environmental campaigners on Saturday welcomed news that President Donald Trump withdrew his nomination of "pro-polluter" and "unapologetic racist" William Perry Pendley for director of the Bureau of Land Management, with groups saying he should no longer be allowed to continue in his role as unofficial head of the agency.



 

Pendley, who's called fracking an "environmental miracle," was panned by civil rights, environmental, tribal, and immigrant advocacy groups as "the worst possible person you could conjure to be a leading steward of our shared public lands" given his public record that includes a history of racist and sexist comments, "overt racism" toward native people, dismissal of the climate crisis, suggestion that "the Founding Fathers intended all lands owned by the federal government to be sold," and a 17-page list of 57 potential conflicts of interest.

"Pendley never should have been nominated, and the fact that he was shows you what you need to know about this administration's conservation priorities," Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) said in a statement Saturday.

Trump formally nominated Pendley in June to lead BLM, an agency within the Interior Department (DOI). However, he has been overseeing—to the outrage of progressive groups—BLM for over a year, with the agency's website describing him as "exercising authority of the director."

Outdoor Life first reported on the news of the withdrawal.

Interior spokesperson Nicholas Goodwin confirmed the nomination withdrawal to The Hill but provided no explanation for the decision. "The president makes staffing decisions. Mr. Pendley continues to lead the Bureau of Land Management as Deputy Director for Programs and Policy," Goodwin said.

Critics of Pendley responded to the news with fresh attacks on his record.

According to Lena Moffitt, director of the Sierra Club's Our Wild America campaign, "Pendley's tenure as head of the Bureau of Land Management, like the entire Trump administration, has been a disaster for our public lands. At best, he's demonstrated a total disregard for the health of our communities and our wild places, prioritizing giveaways to polluting fossil fuel corporations. At worst, he actively worked against marginalized communities."

Collin O'Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation, suggested the withdrawal simply represents the administration seeing Pendley as unlikely to be confirmed by the Senate.

"Unfortunately, the ignominious end of Pendley's nomination is more of a cynical nod to political realities than a retreat from the nihilist ideology he championed—and provides small solace for the communities and wildlife affected by the unbridled leasing of wildlife habitat and recreation lands across the West to energy development," said O'Mara.

Further dampening any reason for progressive applause is that Pendley is not yet ousted from his current role at BLM.

"This is a sham," tweeted climate scientist Peter Gleick. "Trump is withdrawing the nomination but leaving Pendley in charge anyway."

"Another unconfirmed, illegal appointment," he added.

Udall, in his statement, demanded that Pendley "not be allowed to continue in this role in an acting, unconfirmed capacity."

"It's time for DOI stand up for our public lands and our trust and treaty obligations to tribes," he said.

Reposted with permission from Common Dreams.

A seagull flies in front of the Rampion offshore wind farm in the United Kingdom. Neil / CC BY 2.0

By Tara Lohan

A key part of the United States' clean energy transition has started to take shape, but you may need to squint to see it. About 2,000 wind turbines could be built far offshore, in federal waters off the Atlantic Coast, in the next 10 years. And more are expected.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

By Frank La Sorte and Kyle Horton

Millions of birds travel between their breeding and wintering grounds during spring and autumn migration, creating one of the greatest spectacles of the natural world. These journeys often span incredible distances. For example, the Blackpoll warbler, which weighs less than half an ounce, may travel up to 1,500 miles between its nesting grounds in Canada and its wintering grounds in the Caribbean and South America.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Kevin Maillefer / Unsplash

By Lynne Peeples

Editor's note: This story is part of a nine-month investigation of drinking water contamination across the U.S. The series is supported by funding from the Park Foundation and Water Foundation. Read the launch story, "Thirsting for Solutions," here.

In late September 2020, officials in Wrangell, Alaska, warned residents who were elderly, pregnant or had health problems to avoid drinking the city's tap water — unless they could filter it on their own.

Read More Show Less
Eat Just's cell-based chicken nugget is now served at Singapore restaurant 1880. Eat Just, Inc.

At a time of impending global food scarcity, cell-based meats and seafood have been heralded as the future of food.

Read More Show Less
New Zealand sea lions are an endangered species and one of the rarest species of sea lions in the world. Art Wolfe / Photodisc / Getty Images

One city in New Zealand knows what its priorities are.

Dunedin, the second largest city on New Zealand's South Island, has closed a popular road to protect a mother sea lion and her pup, The Guardian reported.

Read More Show Less