Letter: Open letter to Sen. Cory Gardner | SteamboatToday.com

Letter: Open letter to Sen. Cory Gardner

Thank you for your recent support of permanent funding of the Land and Water Conservation Fund and public lands. Hopefully, you will stay on this track by rejecting, not confirming, the nomination of William Perry Pendley as director of the Bureau of Land Management. 

Pendley has written extensively about his belief that the federal government should not have control over any lands. He has made it clear in his tenure as acting director of the BLM that public input is irrelevant and that extractive and profit-generating uses should be prioritized over any conservation. In the opinion of many, he is unfit to serve in this position.

The BLM manages 10% of the nation’s surface area, 30% of the nation’s minerals and soils and generates revenue. This is our land.

The BLM states that its mission is to sustain the health, diversity and productivity of public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations, that a guiding principal is to cultivate community-based conservation, citizen-centered stewardship and partnership through consultation, cooperation and communication, and that a top priority is to create a conservation stewardship legacy second only to Teddy Roosevelt.

From what is known about Mr. Pendley’s record, he would not adhere to or support the mission, principles or priorities but rather would act to weaken the BLM.

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As you know he is an “acting” director. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt violated the Constitution and federal law when he kept him in place as the de facto leader of the BLM without having him confirmed by the Senate. As such, Pendley has been acting illegally against our public lands in various actions and directives.

There is a lawsuit asking the court to rule that he cannot exercise a director’s authority because he has not been confirmed by the U.S. Senate under the “advice and consent” provision in the U.S. Constitution. Further, he has never been named or qualified to serve as “acting” director under requirements of the Federal Vacancies Reform Act. 

One must wonder about Pendley’s July 29, 2019, appointment because he lacks the basic qualifications required by law for the position, and as a lawyer in an ultra-conservative, anti-environmental, legal foundation, has been suing federal agencies for three decades.

I hope that you won’t confirm Pendley as the fox to be watching the BLM hen house.

Paul Stettner
Steamboat Springs

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