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Call on William Perry Pendley to Resign

Supporters Spoke up in this Action
Delivery to your senators

Action Ended On

September 25, 2020

What Happens Next

Thank you to all who took action! On September 25th a federal judge blocked William Perry Pendley from continuing to serve as acting director of the Bureau of Land Managment. Your support in this was critical — actions like yours raised the profile of this issue and made clear the danger of William Perry Pendley's continued control over the Bureau of Land Management. While the attacks on our public lands are far from over, this decision removes a leading advocate for land privatization from a position overseeing the bulk of our public lands. The fight continues, and we hope you'll stick with us.

What was at Stake

The current acting director of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), William Perry Pendley, is one of the most controversial figures to hold a government position overseeing our public lands. Unable to withstand scrutiny after his record was exposed, the administration pulled Pendley’s nomination to lead the BLM. We need you to join us in pressuring your senators to call for his resignation.

This victory should be celebrated, but Pendley remains in charge of the agency and continues to use authority that does not belong to him. He’s already signed an order that essentially appoints himself acting head of the BLM in perpetuity — with or without consent from the Senate. Winning approval from the Senate is the foundation of our appointment system, but Pendley thinks he should be able to flout the Constitution to further his destructive ideology. We must stop him before he grabs more power.

Pendley is too dangerous to remain in his role, and the stakes are simply too high. The BLM oversees 900 million acres of the United States — 10% of the country’s landmass — but Pendley has advocated for selling all BLM lands east of the Mississippi River to benefit oil and gas companies. This isn’t just talk — decades ago he led the charge for the then-largest single coal lease sale in U.S. history. An investigation found that the lease was a $100 million giveaway to the coal industry, with key decisions about the lease auction happening on the same day he had a pricey steak dinner with industry executives and lobbyists.

Pendley isn’t just a full-throated advocate for drilling, mining, and otherwise exploiting our wildlands — he espouses beliefs that should make him unqualified to hold any position in government. Pendley called Black Lives Matter “a lie” and labeled immigrants the “source” of violent crime and disease. He’s also attacked the sovereignty and legitimacy of Native American tribes, claiming they will only continue to exist for “financial convenience.”

William Perry Pendley
Matthew Brown / AP

U.S. Bureau of Land Management Acting Director William Perry Pendley speaks at a conference for journalists in Fort Collins, Colo. Oct. 11, 2019. The former oil industry attorney will continue for now calling the shots at a government agency that oversees nearly a quarter-billion public acres in the U.S. West. That's despite the White House saying over the weekend that President Trump would withdraw the nomination of Pendley.

Your Actions Matter

Your messages make a difference, even if we have leaders who don't want to listen. Here's why.

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You level the playing field.

Elected officials pay attention when they see that we are paying attention.

They may be hearing from industry lobbyists left and right, but hearing the stories of their constituents — that’s your power.

Our legislators serve at the pleasure of the people who gave them their job — you. When you contact your elected official, you’re putting a face and a name on an issue. Whether or not you voted for them, they work for you, for the duration of their term.

Make sure your elected officials know whose community and whose values they represent. (Find your local, state, and federal elected officials.)

Your action is with us in court.

If a federal agency finalizes a harmful action, the record of public comments provides a basis for bringing them into court.

Throughout each of the public comment periods we alert you to, Earthjustice’s attorneys are researching and writing in-depth, technical comments to submit — detailing how the regulation could and should be stronger to protect the environment, our communities, and our planet.

We need you to join us — your specific experiences, knowledge, and voice are crucial to add to the Administrative Record through the comment periods.

Lawsuits we file that challenge weak or harmful federal regulations rely on what was submitted during the comment period. The court can only look at documents that are in the Administrative Record — including the public comments — to decide if the agency did something improper.

Your actions aid our litigation. Taking action and submitting comments during a comment period is substantively important.

It’s the law.

Federal agencies must pause what they’re doing and ask for — and consider — your comment.

Many of us may have never heard of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), but laws like these require our government to ask the public to weigh in before agencies adopt or change regulations.

Regulations essentially describe how federal agencies will carry out laws — including decisions that could undermine science, or weaken safeguards on public health.

Public comments are collected at various points throughout the federal government’s rulemaking process, including when a regulation is proposed and finalized. (Learn more about the rulemaking process.) These comments become part of the official, legal public record — the “Administrative Record.”

When the public responds with a huge outpouring of support for environmental protections, these individual messages collectively undercut politicians' attempts to claim otherwise.

What this means is each of us can take a role in shaping the rules our government creates — and ensuring those rules are fair and effective.