As the Casper Star-Tribune reports via the Colorado Sun–remember that court ruling a couple of weeks ago that ordered acting Bureau of Land Management director William Perry Pendley to stop serving as acting director, after his nomination after over a year in that position to be confirmed by the Senate as the non-acting director was pulled under a cloud? The ruling the Trump administration claimed it would abide by while it appeals, even though Interior Secretary David Bernhardt says there will be no new nominee?
If you thought anybody in Trump’s White House had any intentions to follow that court order, which under any other administration would be something you could count on, the joke’s on you:
“I have not been ousted. That is not true,” Pendley, the Bureau of Land Management’s deputy director of policy and programs, said during an interview with the Star-Tribune on Thursday…
Pendley said he firmly disagreed with the court’s decision and has continued to fulfill his duties as assigned.
“We are going to recognize that authority of the court and will obey it,” he said, adding, “now the Secretary (Bernhardt) is signing all of our (BLM) documents.”
Last weekend, Michael Karlik of the Colorado Springs Gazette interviewed Interior Secretary Bernhardt who defended Pendley’s record as acting BLM director, while promising again that the administration would obey the judge’s order removing Pendley from his position despite disagreeing with it. But it’s clear at this point that neither Bernhardt nor Pendley had any intention of complying with the spirit of U.S. District Judge Brian Morris’ ruling, and that a change in who signs off on decisions that continue to be made by Pendley is not going to mean anything.
Asked about Pendley in a debate last week, as E&E News reports, Sen. Cory Gardner predictably dodged the question:
Asked whether Pendley should still be in BLM’s leadership at all — he is officially BLM’s deputy director of policy and programs — Gardner skirted the issue.
“He hasn’t been confirmed, hasn’t had a hearing yet,” Gardner said.
Moderator Anne Trujillo, a Denver7 news anchor, reiterated the question: “Should he still be in a leadership role?”
Gardner replied: “He’s not been confirmed, and the courts have said he’s not.”
Trujillo responded: “That’s not the question, sir.” [Pols emphasis]
Gardner replied: “We have to have a hearing on this.”
Now that Pendley is bragging about how the court ruling that gave Gardner room to dodge questions about Pendley during Friday’s debate is meaningless, this is a matter Gardner has to address now. Is Gardner actually going to call for hearings into Pendley continuing to run the Bureau of Land Management in all but title?
That would be news, folks.
As for Pendley himself? Short of sending in the marshals, for which critics of the Trump administration have already formed a lengthy fruitless queue, there’s only one way to drain this swamp–three weeks from tomorrow. Pendley, and the troubled record of the “leaderless” Bureau of Land Management during Donald Trump’s term in office, are the voters’ problem to resolve now.