BLM wants to liquidate your lands

To the editor,

The Bureau of Land Management manages more than 245 million acres of public land, the most of any federal agency. This land is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. Over 64 million Americans – more than one in six – live within 100 miles of public lands managed by BLM. These lands provide outstanding opportunities for outdoor recreation, including hunting, angling, camping, hiking, climbing, wildlife viewing and many other activities. Colorado has 8.3 million acres of BLM public lands.

Unfortunately, the Trump administration appears to be putting the BLM public lands that hunters, anglers and others rely on for outdoor recreation at risk. Recently, Interior Secretary David Bernhardt signed an order naming William Perry Pendley – a lawyer with a long history of opposition to public lands – acting director of the Bureau of Land Management. This order puts him at the top of the agency, but without a Senate confirmation process.

“William Pendley has made a name for himself by relentlessly and brazenly attacking our American system of public lands and waters and advocating for the sale of this priceless American legacy,” Backcountry Horsemen and Anglers President Land Tawney said. “Mr. Pendley is not someone who should be entrusted with the management of our public estate. The fox has taken control of the hen house, and he is poised to systematically dismantle the very resources he is charged with overseeing.”

Pendley is the former president and founder of the pro-development law firm Mountain States Legal Foundation. He has ties to a number of notorious anti-public land groups, including the American Lands Council. He argued in a 2016 National Review article that the “Founding Fathers intended all lands owned by the federal government to be sold.”

Pendley is, in a nutshell, an extremist nut and an outright enemy of America’s great public lands hunting-angling heritage. “Holy smoking bombshells. People better wake up,” Hal Herring, Field & Stream contributing editor wrote. “We’re not making ourselves heard, and we’re about to hit a tipping point of real loss. One of the most prominent firebrand voices for divesting public lands is now the head of the BLM.”

Kayje Booker, policy and advocacy director at Montana Wilderness Association, stated in a press release, “It’s hard to imagine anyone in this position more dangerous than William Perry Pendley.” U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., issued a statement calling Pendley’s BLM leadership “a grave threat to the future of public lands.”

Today, the No. 1 threat to the future of hunting and fishing is loss of access to quality habitat. America’s public lands are critical if we are to maintain our hunting and fishing traditions and freedoms. Mr. Pendley has made it clear that he plans to do everything in his power to liquidate America’s great public lands estate.

We need you to contact your senators and voice your opposition to this appointment. Our public lands and waters are a foundational part of this country – we need to ensure that they rest in good hands. For additional information and to take action visit: www.backcountry hunters.org.

– David A. Lien, Co-Chairman, Colorado Backcountry Hunters & Anglers