FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, August 3, 2020
This comes as Steve Daines has stood by Pendley for months, despite his support for “selling off almost all public lands” and stark opposition from “more than 100 conservation organizations.” Only recently has Daines attempted to backtrack in a blatant political pivot, with a spokesperson saying he “has not made a final decision” on Pendley’s nomination. Meanwhile, Greg Gianforte has said that he’s “pleased” by appointments like Pendley’s, and said he’s “optimistic about working with Mr. Pendley to promote Montana’s interests.”
Missoulian: Pendley plans wrong for Montana
By: Tracy Stone-Manning and Alec Underwood
As hunters and conservationists, we are nothing short of grateful that our state’s citizens demand their leaders to lead on public lands issues. Montanans know that the tie that binds us all in Montana is, well, Montana.
That’s why it was so alarming to read William Perry Pendley’s recent opinion piece that sang the virtues of two management plans he just approved for the Lewistown and Missoula areas. Mr. Pendley is the acting director of the Bureau of Land Management and was recently formally nominated by the president to lead the agency.
He now needs a vote of the Senate to keep the job. Perhaps this is why he is trying to position himself as a champion of public lands with these plans. The problem is, the regional management plans he just announced, which will dictate the management of these lands for the next 20 years, completely miss the mark for ensuring future generations have the same opportunities we have on our public lands.
How can anyone say, as Mr. Pendley did, that a plan that opens up 95% of its acreage to oil and gas development would make Theodore Roosevelt proud? We think it’d make him hopping mad.
Mr. Pendley oversaw the whole thing. It’s no surprise. He’s simply been on the wrong side of history, repeatedly, on public lands issues. He claims public lands are unconstitutional, that public lands shouldn’t belong to you and me. He was the lawyer who tried to overturn the cyanide heap leach mining ban that Montana voters overwhelmingly passed twice and that protected the Blackfoot River for generations to come. He was also the attorney who represented the wealthy out-of-staters who tried to strip away our stream access law.
No amount of wrapping his newly released plans in press statements with Orwellian language about public lands can undo what is in the plans themselves. Nor can it erase his long track record advocating against our public lands.
Montanans deserve better. These plans are wrong for our communities and our public lands. And Mr. Pendley is wrong for the job of running our biggest public land agency. The Senate should reject him.
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