Trump Public Lands

This June 16, 2015, aerial file photo, shows the Badger-Two Medicine area near the Blackfeet Indian Reservation and Glacier National Park, rear, in Montana. President Donald Trump's public lands steward, acting U.S. Bureau of Land Management Director William Perry Pendley, has recused himself from dealings with a company seeking to drill in the Badger-Two Medicine following criticism from U.S. Sen. Jon Tester and environmentalists. 

The U.S. Secretary of Interior has extended the tenure of the Trump administration's top steward of public lands, rebuffing Democrats' calls for his termination.

Interior Secretary David Bernhardt on Monday extended William Perry Pendley's role as Bureau of Land Management Acting Director to Jan. 3.

Pendley has been in the post since July. Senate Democrats, including presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Kamala Harris, had called for Pendley's ouster over his longstanding support for selling public lands.

He previously worked as a property rights attorney with clients including mining, energy and agriculture interests. Earlier this month Pendley recused himself from work involving dozens of former clients following conflict of interest allegations.

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Benhardt also extended the tenures of the acting heads of the National Park Service and Fish and Wildlife Service.

The extension of Pendley's appointment angered Montana U.S. Senator Jon Tester.

“A man who has spent his entire career calling for the sale of our public lands should not be in charge of them, plain and simple," Tester said in a press release. "His dangerous zealotry puts Montana’s $7 billion recreation industry and outdoor way of life at risk. William Pendley has absolutely no business running the Bureau of Land Management, and he should be replaced immediately.”

Tester joined his colleagues last week in calling on Bernhardt to remove Pendley and offer a new nominee, citing his career-long opposition to public lands.                                                                                              

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