Advocate of Public Lands Sale to Head Bureau of Land Management

WASHINGTON (AP) -
Emigrant Peak, at the southern border of the Gallatin National Forest, Montana – one of many lands that could be affected by the Trump administration’s recent appointment of the head of the Bureau of Land Management. (AP Photo/Matthew Brown)

The Trump administration has put a conservative advocate, who argues for selling off the nation’s public lands, in charge of the nation’s nearly 250 million public acres.

Interior Secretary David Bernhardt on Monday signed an order making William Perry Pendley acting head of the Bureau of Land Management. The move puts the lawyer and Wyoming native in charge of the nation’s public lands and their resources.

Pendley contends that the writers of the U.S. Constitution intended to sell off nearly all of the country’s federally owned land. Pendley accuses environmental groups of blocking ranchers and miners from profiting off publicly owned range and forest.

The Wilderness Society conservation advocacy group’s spokesman Tony Iallonardo says he fears the Trump administration is positioning itself to “liquidate” the nation’s public lands and resources.

The Interior Department made no immediate comment on Pendley’s appointment.