Energy & Environment

Trump to withdraw controversial public lands nominee

President Trump will withdraw William Perry Pendley’s nomination to lead the Department of Interior’s Bureau of Land Management, a White House official confirmed to The Hill.

Pendley was a controversial choice for the role because he has previously advocated for selling off public lands. He has also been criticized for comments he made about Islam, the Black Lives Matter movement and undocumented immigrants as well as skepticism about climate change.

Pendley has been serving as the head of the agency in an acting capacity for about a year but was formally nominated to serve as permanent director in June. He previously served in the Interior Department during the Reagan administration.

The Bureau of Land Management head will remain at the helm of the agency despite the withdrawal of his formal nomination.

“The President makes staffing decisions. Mr. Pendley continues to lead the Bureau of Land Management as Deputy Director for Programs and Policy,” Interior spokesman Nicholas Goodwin told The Hill on Saturday.

Earlier this year, a lawsuit was filed challenging the length of time he remained in the role without Senate confirmation.

Conservationists had suspected before his nomination that he wouldn’t be able to muster enough votes to be confirmed once formally nominated.

The nomination also came as vulnerable Republicans from public lands-heavy states are facing reelection and pressure to vote against the nominee.

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