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New BLM Acting Director Has A History Of Advocating Selling Off Public Lands

A dry winter and one of the warmest springs on record has experts worried about the potential of wildfires on Utah’s West Desert. The Bureau of Land Management is issuing restrictions on BLM lands in Salt Lake, Utah, Tooele, Rich and Box Elder Counties.

William Perry Pendley was announced as the acting director of much of the country’s federal lands Monday. The thing is, Pendley thinks the government shouldn’t even own those lands. 

To public lands activists, Pendley’s appointment is yet another attack on some of the pristine landscapes of The West. 

“To have a person who has a pretty explicit track record of transferring public lands to the state or privatizing public lands being in charge of an agency that’s got 245 million acres under its jurisdiction is troubling to say the least,” said Adam Cramer, the executive director of Outdoor Alliance. His non-profit advocates for human-powered recreation and public lands, and he sees Pendley’s appointment as not even constitutional.

“He is in an acting position, this is a position that requires Senate approval," Cramer said. "To put Mr. Pendley in a position without congressional oversight, not having the public have an opportunity to ask these questions and get a feeling of whether his sentiments on this issue have evolved is more problematic — I think — than anything.”

President Trump hasn’t named a BLM director yet in his presidency, meaning every director since his inauguration has been in an acting position. 

Pendley is the author of multiple books praising Ronald Raegan’s approach to public lands and advocating for the transfer of lands to private control. In a 2016 essay, he wrote that it was the founding fathers’ intent to sell off all government land.