Well Of Course A Bigot Science Denier Is (Acting At) Running The Bureau Of Land Management
We suppose it shouldn't be the least bit surprising anymore to learn that the Trump administration's pick to be the (acting) director of the Bureau of Land Management turns out to be a standard-issue rightwing wackaloon with a long history of statements claiming science is fake, that immigrants are a "cancer" on America, and that all Muslims are at war with US America. We suspect it may actually be in the job description. Still, we can remember the olden times when that sort of thing might have been a problem for somebody running an entire federal agency. Now, thanks to a CNN backgrounder published yesterday, let's get to know (acting) BLM Director William Perry Pendley, appointed in June by (actual) Interior Secretary David Bernhardt. No, don't get too close, he's frothing at the mouth, and that can't be good.
Notably, Pendley meets the number one job requirement for most Trump administration appointees: He's fundamentally opposed to the mission of the agency he heads. Pendley is the former president and chief legal officer of the rightwing, anti-environmentalist Mountain States Legal Foundation, which was founded by Ronald Reagan's former Interior Secretary, James Watt, who wasn't too worried about protecting the environment because Jesus will be coming back and the world will end anyway. The foundation actively opposes the very existence of public lands, and Pendley wrote in 2016 that "The Founding Fathers intended all lands owned by the federal government to be sold." Until that glorious day, the MSLF has shepherded along lawsuits aimed at helping oil, coal, and other extractive industries.
He also argued that ever since the Louisiana Purchase, the Constitution has been interpreted wrongly, and that any land held by the federal government by rights should be sold or given to the states. It's a slightly more sophisticated argument than the crazy Bundy Family argument that the Constitution only allows the government to own the District of Columbia and military bases, but the claims are related.
Not surprisingly, Pendley, then MSLF president, wrote a 2014 National Review column expressing sympathy for the Bundys' armed standoff with jackbooted thugs from the agency he now heads. In the same column, he fretted over a 2009 Justice Department report on rightwing extremism, because mean old Barack Obama and Janet Napolitano were labeling good American patriots potential terrorists, just because some people wanted their country back, via a shooting war if necessary.
As CNN notes, Pendley has long rejected environmental science of all sorts, because "environmental extremists ... don't believe in human beings," and are probably all communists, too. No, we are not exaggerating. In a 1992 lecture to the Heritage Foundation, Pendley explained the fall of the USSR meant that since the Left couldn't import Soviet communism to the US anymore, they had to find a new way to control everyone's lives and destroy freedom:
Environmentalism' is indeed the last refuge of the left, the last safe haven for those who trust, not the people, but big government, those who seek to place the power in the hands of federal bureaucrats [...] It should not surprise us that they have embraced environmentalism with the same self-righteous fervor as they once embraced socialism and communism.
As for science, pfoo, who needs it? The US government had already helped negotiate the 1989 Montreal Protocol that addressed the hole in the ozone layer, and had taken action to prevent acid rain caused by coal power plant emissions, so Pendley insisted in the same 1992 speech that neither of those very well-documented problems even existed, saying,
Despite the total absence of credible scientific evidence, the media is convinced and is attempting to convince us that we have global warming, an Ozone hole and acid rain and that it is all man's fault[.]
We rather wish someone would ask him what he makes of the fact that acid rain and the ozone hole have both gotten better since then. Maybe he'd just say the research was all fake from start to finish.
In a 2001 column for the MSLF website, Pendley made a very funny joke about how winter exists, therefore global warming is fake:
People don't have to shovel too much global warming off their sidewalk before they begin to doubt the sky-is-falling radicals who demand they we all but destroy our civilization in order to '"save the planet[.]"
Now we face civilizational collapse because we've done nothing, and that's WAY more profitable. Pendley even insisted earlier this year that scientists had been warning of "global cooling" as recently as "just a couple of years ago," which is pure bullshit, but no bar to running a federal agency.
CNN also documents Pendley warning in a 2007 fundraising mailer that illegal immigration "is spreading like a cancer," and that if Real Americans didn't take action, "you and I will permanently lose the country we love" to the dusky hordes. He praised two of the small cities that had adopted anti-immigrant laws developed or encouraged by fellow bigot Kris Kobach, even though the ordinances were later struck down -- and one of the cities, Hazleton, Pennsylvania, spent so much on the court fight that it went into receivership.
Oh, there's more: In a 2006 blog post CNN dug up, Pendley explained that undocumented migrants are actual criminal plague rats:
"Violent crime—including dangerous gangs, over-crowded schools, the appearance of diseases once vanquished from the western world, escalating hospital costs, and an overwhelming demand for government services!" Pendley wrote. "These are the new problems being faced by small, cash-strapped cities and towns all across America. The source: illegal immigrants."
Or anti-vaxxers, whatever, the point is, Pendley now tells CNN that whatever he may have said before, he's just focused on living his best life and Making America Great Again, so shut up:
As someone in the public arena for nearly four decades, I've given countless statements and written scores of articles on a wide variety of topics. Cherrypicking a few of them out of context is neither useful nor connected to my current position. I'm focused now on implementing the policy priorities of the Trump administration and Secretary Bernhardt within the authorities and mission given this agency by Congress. My personal views are irrelevant in this context.
Be fair! His advocacy for eliminating public lands is not relevant to managing public lands, and besides, the BLM doesn't do anything involving "science" or the "environment," unless maybe you count granting great big oil leases on public lands, which is the economy, the only science that matters, the end.
[CNN / National Review / WaPo]
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Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.