William Perry Pendley, head of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), has been serving illegally in his position, according to US district judge Brian Morris. A couple weeks ago, Morris ruled that Pendley must vacate his position, having not been confirmed by the Senate, a legal requirement.
Pendley has simply decided that, no, he won’t leave actually, in defiance of the federal court ruling.
“I have not been ousted. That is not true,” he told the Casper Star-Tribune.
“I have the support of the president,” he told the Wyoming Powell Tribune. “I have the support of the secretary of the interior and my job is to get out and get things done to accomplish what the president wants to do.”
With Pendley, and his enablers at the Department of Interior’s, actions, he has advanced the White House’s legal doctrine of, essentially, “Yeah, you and whose army?” when told to cease an unlawful action, or testify before Congress.
In response to Pendley’s refusal to abide by the federal court ruling, Montana senator Jon Tester said Pendley was engaging in a power grab “in service of his long-held goal of selling off our lands and enriching his corporate allies.”
Pendley’s response to criticism is essentially a work-around: “We are going to recognize that authority of the court and will obey it,” he said, adding, “now the Secretary (Bernhardt) is signing all of our (BLM) documents.”
It is unclear exactly what force can remove Pendley from his position, if not a court ruling. It also calls into question whether or not Pendley’s BLM feels the need to abide by any rule or law they disagree with.
Pendley has, for example, already been put on the record dismissing the Endangered Species Act by telling a group in North Carolina, “This is why out west we say ‘shoot, shovel and shut up’ when it comes to the discovery of endangered species on your property.”
The BLM did not respond to AJ’s request for comment in time for publishing.