Public-Lands Opponent Tapped to Oversee Them for Trump

WASHINGTON (CN) – The Trump administration has installed as its new head of the Bureau of Land Management a conservative lawyer and writer whose novels depict the U.S. environmental policy as tyrannical, with criticism in particular of public-domain seizures.

Emigrant Peak is seen rising above the Paradise Valley and the Yellowstone River near Emigrant, Mont., on Oct. 8, 2018. (Matthew Brown/AP)

Interior Secretary David Bernhardt signed stewardship of the nearly quarter-billion acres of land that the bureau controls over to William Perry Pendley in an executive order Monday.

Pendley rises to the post of acting administrator after years of advocating for the sale of most, if not all protected lands. In one 2016 piece for the National Review, Pendley argued that America’s Founding Fathers intended that all lands be sold by the government.

Pendley is most prolific as an author, penning works like “Warriors for the West: Fighting Bureaucrats, Radical Groups, and Liberal Judges on America’s Frontier,” which examines stories of environmental law disputes. Another work, “War on the West: Government Tyranny on America’s Great Frontier,” defines men and women who work in western communities as a threatened species, and argues against federal interference in property seizure.

A review of “War on the West: Government Tyranny on America’s Great Frontier” by Publisher’s Weekly said Pendley’s assessment got “everything completely backwards.”

“His absurd contention is that environmentalists, whom he consistently calls ‘environmental extremists,’ and government officials (including those in the Bush administration) have banded together in a conspiracy to depopulate the West, keep visitors from our national parks and `put an end to modern civilization,’” the review states.

Pendley has been on a Twitter hiatus since July 9 but previously used the site to broadcast his environmental views. Earlier in the month he described the oil- and gas-extraction technique known as fracking as “an energy, economic AND environmental miracle!”

Pendley is not lacking Congressional experience, having served as an attorney to former Senator Clifford Hansen, R-Wyo., along with serving in a similar role with the House Interior and Insular Affairs Committee. During the Reagan administration, Pendley served as deputy assistant secretary for Energy and Minerals for the Department of Interior.

Pendley has served as policy director at the Bureau of Land Management since mid-July. In his role, Pendley oversaw 30% of the nation’s minerals and managed one out of every 10 acres of land in the nation.

Pendley did not respond Tuesday to a request for comment on his appointment.

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