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Thursday, July 2, 2020
Daines has stood by Pendley, despite him having “argued for selling off almost all public lands” and claiming that concerns about climate change come from “kooks” who are “preaching fear.” As acting director, Pendley’s appointment faced opposition from “more than 100 conservation organizations,” including multiple Montana groups.
HuffPost: Trump’s Pick For Public Lands Chief Puts Endangered GOP Senators In A Bind
By: Chris D’Angelo
President Donald Trump just put two of his favorite Senate allies in a tough spot.
Late Tuesday, Trump formally nominated William Perry Pendley, a conservative lawyer with extreme anti-environmental views and a long history of advocating for the sale of federal lands, to serve as director of the Bureau of Land Management ― an agency that manages 245 million acres, more than one-third of all federal land. […]
That presumably will confront Republican Sens. Cory Gardner (Colo.) and Steve Daines (Mont.) ― two close Trump allies facing tough reelection bids who recently scored rare points with the conservation community ― with a dilemma: vote to confirm Pendley, which would surely enrage public land advocates, or oppose the nominee and face the wrath of Trump.
Backing Pendley would undercut if not entirely spoil the win Gardner and Daines scored with environmental and outdoor sporting groups this month. […]
Daines and Gardner, neither of whom have records that environmentalists consider strong, are credited with convincing the president to reverse his stance on the fund after years of trying to gut it.
But Land Tawney, president of the Montana-based nonprofit Backcountry Hunters & Anglers, told HuffPost that Pendley’s nomination “poisons the well.”
“I can’t for the life of me figure out why the administration would nominate Pendley now after he has been acting director for nearly a year,” he said via email. ”The good work by Senators Daines and Gardner to pass the Great American Outdoors Act in such bipartisan fashion will be clouded by the nomination of a sworn enemy to public lands. The people of Montana and Colorado are definitely watching.”
Daines signaled in November that he’d back Pendley for the BLM director post, as E&E News reported. Asked Wednesday if Daines still plans to support Pendley, a spokeswoman declined to comment. […]
E&E News: Senators gird for battle over Pendley nomination
By: Scott Streater
President Trump’s plan to nominate William Perry Pendley as director of the Bureau of Land Management has sparked a strong partisan backlash, setting the stage for what will likely be a fierce battle for Senate confirmation. […]
Another vulnerable Republican on the ballot this fall whose vote will be watched closely is Montana Sen. Steve Daines, who last year told E&E News he would support Pendley if nominated.
Daines is also a member of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee. The senator’s office could not be reached for comment.
Fellow Montana Sen. Jon Tester (D) does not share Daines’ view on Pendley. Tester earlier this month issued a video on Twitter calling on the Interior Department to remove Pendley. He also dared Trump to “go right ahead and nominate him” (E&E News PM, June 11).
Now that Trump has done so, Tester can’t wait to question Pendley. Tester, in a Friday letter to Trump, called on the president to expedite the nomination so Pendley “can testify before the American people immediately and be held accountable for his anti-public lands record and views.” […]
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