Report: Top Interior official has denied climate change, blamed migrants for disease

Report: Top Interior official has denied climate change, blamed migrants for disease

A top Interior Department official reportedly denied the existence of climate change and compared undocumented immigrants to "cancer."

CNN reported Tuesday that Bureau of Land Management acting Director William Perry Pendley, who was appointed in July, also claimed that Islam was at war with America and blamed migrants for diseases. 

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Pendley told The Hill in a statement that the comments were out of context and not relevant to his current job. 

"As someone in the public arena for nearly four decades, I've given countless statements and written scores of articles on a wide variety of topics. Cherrypicking a few of them out of context is neither useful nor connected to my current position," he said.

"I'm focused now on implementing the policy priorities of the Trump administration and [Interior] Secretary [David] Bernhardt within the authorities and mission given this agency by Congress. My personal views are irrelevant in this context," he added.

The news outlet reported that in a 1992 Heritage Foundation lecture, Pendley denied that there was a hole in the ozone layer and compared environmentalism to communism.

" 'Environmentalism' is indeed the last refuge of the left, the last safe haven for those who trust, not the people, but big government, those who seek to place the power in the hands of federal bureaucrats," he said. "It should not surprise us that they have embraced environmentalism with the same self-righteous fervor as they once embraced socialism and communism."

"Despite the total absence of credible scientific evidence, the media is convinced and is attempting to convince us that we have global warming, an ozone hole and acid rain and that it is all man's fault," he also said.

The news network also found a 2011 press release in which Pendley said that "public support for the fiction of man-made climate change" was "at an all time low."

CNN reported that he "repeatedly" pushed anti-Muslim beliefs, including by tweeting an article by anti-Muslim activist Robert Spencer. 

"Who knew? Islam's war with America started just up the road in Greeley, Colorado!" he reportedly tweeted with the article.

CNN also found that Pendley compared undocumented immigrants to cancer and claimed they spread disease.

"You see, the problems Hazleton or Valley Park faces could be in your community next because illegal immigration is spreading like a cancer," he wrote in a 2007 fundraising mailer for his legal fund. "Partly this is because Mexico and some other governments promote and encourage illegal immigration into our country."

CNN also found that Pendley wrote in a 2006 blog post, "Violent crime—including dangerous gangs, over-crowded schools, the appearance of diseases once vanquished from the western world, escalating hospital costs, and an overwhelming demand for government services!"

"These are the new problems being faced by small, cash-strapped cities and towns all across America. The source: illegal immigrants," he added.

Updated Oct. 9 at 11:17 a.m.