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Conservation groups push lawmakers for Pendley's removal

Conservation groups push lawmakers for Pendley's removal
© Courtesy Department of Interior

Conservation groups are not satisfied with the White House withdrawing the nomination of Bureau of Land Management (BLM) acting Director William Perry Pendley, demanding he be removed from the agency immediately.

Though his nomination has been withdrawn, the White House has confirmed Pendley will remain in his post — a move already being challenged in lawsuits.

Lawmakers have been vocal about their opposition to Pendley, citing a history of opposition to federal land ownership and other controversial comments. Tuesday letters from conservation groups demand that the Senate ensure Pendley leaves the Trump administration. 

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“Trump’s decision to allow Pendley to serve in this important role without Senate confirmation is appalling and every United States Senator who has not taken a stand and should have had a say in Pendley’s nomination must join us in demanding that Trump fire Pendley now. Pendley’s anti-public lands record of listening to polluters instead of people, along with a history of making racist anti-Black, homophobic and transphobic comments have disqualified him for this role since day one,” the League of Conservation Voters said in a statement. 

A fiery letter from Montana Conservation Voters (MCV) saw the group reaching out to their delegation directly, questioning how Pendley could stay in his role without Senate blessing. 

“If you still consider yourself conservationists, then we call on you to demand that President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden holds massive cash advantage over Trump ahead of Election Day Tax records show Trump maintains a Chinese bank account: NYT Trump plays video of Biden, Harris talking about fracking at Pennsylvania rally MORE fire Mr. Pendley from his position as acting director of the BLM immediately. Anyone who is familiar with the U.S. Constitution knows this is wrong, and MCV will not sit on the sidelines as Washington politicians dismantle our democracy’s checks and balances action by action. Pretending that this issue is not one that is important to Montana’s outdoor way of life is an unfortunate consequence of not listening to constituents,” the group wrote, specifically calling out Sen. Steve DainesSteven (Steve) David DainesClimate change — Trump's golden opportunity Steve Bullock raises .8 million in third quarter for Montana Senate bid Overnight Defense: National Guard says no federal requests for election security help | Dems accuse VA head of misusing resources | Army official links COVID-19 to troop suicides MORE (R), as Sen. Jon TesterJonathan (Jon) TesterHouse Republicans push VA for details on recent data breach OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Judge tosses land management plans after ousting Pendley from role | Trump says he could out-raise Biden with calls to Wall Street, oil execs | Supreme Court to review Trump border wall funding, asylum policies Biden and Schumer face battles with left if Democrats win big MORE (D) has already opposed Pendley.

Interior, which oversees BLM, has resisted those calls.

“Mr. Pendley continues to lead the Bureau of Land Management as deputy director for programs and policy," Interior Department spokesman Ben Goldey said in a statement to The Hill Monday. “There are no issues raised by the Vacancies Reform Act when it comes to the important work Mr. Pendley continues to perform on behalf of the American people.”

But Democrats have privately said they plan to continue to pressure the administration.

“The withdrawal of the nomination by the White House shows they know he can’t be confirmed and that he is overwhelmingly opposed. That dynamic hasn’t changed, and their retreat has shown that the strategy is effective. So we are going to keep ratcheting up the pressure until Pendley is removed,” a senior Democratic aide told The Hill.