July 22, 2020

Wyden, Merkley, Western Senators 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”

Washington, D.C. – Following Donald Trump’s formal nomination of anti-public lands activist William Perry Pendley to lead the Bureau of Land Management, Oregon’s U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley joined U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., and other Western colleagues in calling for an expedited confirmation hearing so Pendley can answer for his troubling record of anti-public lands advocacy before the American public.

The senators wrote that Pendley, who was installed as the de facto acting director of the agency nearly a year ago by Interior Secretary David Bernhardt without a confirmation hearing or vote, has a long career of hostility towards the public lands he now oversees is disqualifying.

“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,” the senators wrote. “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.”

“Public land management is built on collaboration and community input,” the senators 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”.

Wyden and Merkley joined Tester in sending the letter, along with Sens. Jacky Rosen, D-Nev., Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., Kamala Harris, D-Calif., Tom Udall, D-N.M., Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., and Michael Bennet, D-Colo.

A copy of letter is available here.