Chase Woodruff reports for Colorado Newsline, who we hope you’ve included in your daily news browsing:
Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet and all 47 of his Democratic colleagues in the U.S. Senate are urging the removal of William Perry Pendley from his leadership post at the Bureau of Land Management, following the Trump administration’s decision to withdraw the conservative firebrand’s formal nomination to lead the public-lands agency.
A former head of the Lakewood-based Mountain States Legal Foundation, Pendley has led the BLM since being tapped by Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, a Colorado native and former oil lobbyist, to a senior role at the agency in July 2019. Pendley remains in charge despite the withdrawal of his nomination; while he has not been officially designated as the BLM’s acting director, he has been assigned leadership powers in his role as its deputy director of policy and programs — a tactic that has drawn criticism from congressional Democrats and lawsuits from environmental groups.
In an Aug. 20 letter to Bernhardt, Bennet and his fellow Senate Democrats called on the Interior Secretary to remove Pendley, who has come under fire for a range of controversial views, including his past support for the privatization of public lands, climate change denial and comments comparing undocumented immigrants to cancer.
The withdrawal of acting Bureau of Land Management director William Perry Pendley’s nomination to be confirmed formally by the U.S. Senate, in any rational universe, should have meant the immediate end of Pendley’s acting directorship. That Pendley continues to serve after his nomination was pulled is not a victory for Senate oversight–the Senate’s oversight is being thwarted every day he continues to serve.
Even Sen. Cory Gardner claimed he would have “tough questions” for Pendley in the confirmation hearings about Pendley’s career-long support for liquidating public lands–just the tip of the iceberg of Pendley’s unpalatable record on a wide range of issues. Shouldn’t Gardner be just as angry as Sen. Michael Bennet, now that he doesn’t get to ask those questions but Pendley continues to direct policy at the BLM?
Per usual, Cory Gardner’s inaction speaks louder than his words.