BILLINGS, Mont. (KIFI/KIDK)-A federal judge ruled Friday that President Trump's de-facto head of the Bureau of Land Management has been serving unlawfully and blocked him from continuing in the position.
The ruling also calls for a list of actions completed by William Perry Pendley be reversed. He has headed the agency as an interim director for 424 days, which is much longer than allowed under the Federal Vacancies Reform Act.
Montana's governor sued in July to remove Pendley.
The Center for Western Priorities claims Pendley has a documented history of calling for the sale of public lands, working to dismantle protections and access to public lands and, they said, overt racism toward native tribes.
Pendley was the administration's first nomination to the post, but the nomination was withdrawn when it became clear the Senate would not confirm him.
The Center for Western Priorities released the following statement from Executive Director Jennifer Rokala:
“For years, the Trump administration has abused the Vacancies Reform Act by using unconfirmed acting directors to implement its drill-everywhere agenda. This ruling is a stark repudiation of the administration’s attempt to manage our parks and public lands with unconfirmed political appointees.
“William Perry Pendley should never have been in a position to lead the Bureau of Land Management. He has spent his entire career seeking to undermine and sell off our public lands, all to increase drilling and mining. His shameful legacy will be one of dismantling the agency he was supposed to lead and opening our public lands to widespread oil and gas drilling in the face of accelerating climate change.”