Pendley appointment extended despite threat of lawsuits
The acting director of the BLM William Perry Pendley has held his position for nearly a year now--after his appointment was extended several times by the federal government... and was extended for another month yesterday.
Now, advocacy groups are telling Interior Secretary David Bernhardt to expect a lawsuit. Two environmental groups filed Notice of Intent to Sue, saying the Interior has repeatedly authorized lower-level deputy directors to act in the role of directors and that that's in violation of the Federal Vacancies Reform Act.
"If they are extreme characters like Mr. Pendley, they're likely not going to get nominated and certainly not confirmed. He hasn't been confirmed by the senate nor has he been appointed as the acting director. He's just a deputy director who has been given the authority to exercise the powers of the director," says Peter Jenkins of Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, one of the two groups threatening suit.
The BLM said that they extended Pendley's appointment due to the coronavirus pandemic, saying, "having these leaders in place to execute Interior's mission and provide critical services to the American people is paramount." They called the lawsuits "baseless."