Putting the wolfs in charge of the hen house has been a long-time strategy of the Trump administration and his Republican enablers in the Senate who have blithely confirmed every former energy industry lobbyist and unqualified right-wing ideologue who’ve been nominated to oversee the destruction and dismantling of the departments that they’ve been tasked with leading.
From the anti-public education beliefs of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to the multiple energy industry veterans that have served in the Interior and Energy Departments, Donald Trump has consistently found willing participants on his efforts to weaken America by enacting policies harmful to its citizens while stuffing the pockets of corporate oligarchs with plentiful profit potential.
In a smidgeon of good news to emerge from the White House this week, one of the latest Trump nominees who has faced charges that they are particularly ill-suited for the job they’ve been appointed to do, William Perry Pendley who was picked by the president to head up the Department of Interior’s Bureau of Land Management, will have his nomination withdrawn after it became apparent that he would not reach the required number of votes to reach confirmation.
Conservationists were appalled that Pendley has been working as the acting head of the BLM — the BLM that is less directly involved in Black lives — for the past year, way past the amount of time an acting head can legally hold the job without Senate confirmation.
Among the reasons for the objections made by the environmentally aware over Pendley’s confirmation is the fact that he has openly advocated for the sale of public lands in the past, has expressed doubt about the reality of climate change, and has made dubious comments about Islam, about the BLM that does advocate for Black Americans, and about undocumented immigrants.
Unfortunately, despite bowing to the reality of the impossibility of obtaining Senate confirmation for Pendley’s permanent appointment to the post of Bureau of Land Management head, he will remain as acting head of the agency for the time being.
“The President makes staffing decisions. Mr. Pendley continues to lead the Bureau of Land Management as Deputy Director for Programs and Policy,” Interior spokesman Nicholas Goodwin told The Hill on Saturday.
With vulnerable Republican senators from states with copious acreage of federal public lands fearful of angering their constituents in an election year and withholding their approval of Pendley’s permanent appointment as a consequence, the nation has dodged a longer-term bullet when it comes to the proper management and administration of federal lands.
Until the president and the party — the ones who have allowed this corrupt swinging door between greedy private stakeholders and people with powerful positions in the government that can help their former colleagues reap beaucoup bucks from their actions — are removed from office, we will have to stay constantly vigilant to prevent the thieves from giving away our most precious public resources.
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Original reporting by Rachel Frazin at The Hill.
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Vinnie Longobardo is a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music and art.