Conservationists Concerned Over New BLM Leader's Support For Public Lands Sales

Jul 29, 2019
Originally published on July 29, 2019 4:03 pm

The Trump Administration has selected a champion of private property rights and oil, gas and coal energy development to fill a top position at the Bureau of Land Management.

William Perry Pendley is a lawyer and activist who has spent his career fighting with the federal government over land use. In a 2016 interview in Colorado, he referenced the BLM's multiple use doctrine: “It’s supposed to be used for ranching, mile, oil and gas, or energy activities," Pendley said.

In that interview he didn’t mention that BLM lands are also for recreation, wildlife habitat and conservation. In a 2016 National Review article Pendley suggested that all federal lands should be sold. And that has some environmentalists worried. 

"We’re concerned because the fox is now in the henhouse," says Land Tawney, president of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers. "Mr. Pendley wants to systematically demolish our public lands system in the United States."  

The Trump Administration has yet to nominate anyone to be the official head of the Bureau of Land Management. That makes Pendley and one other deputy director the highest-sitting officials at the BLM right now. 

Find reporter Amanda Peacher on Twitter @amandapeacher.

Copyright 2019 Boise State Public Radio

This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho,  KUER in Salt Lake City, KUNR in Nevada and KRCC and KUNC in Colorado.

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