US public lands boss William Perry Pendley serving unlawfully: judge

A federal judge ruled Friday that the top US official overseeing public lands has been serving unlawfully in his post and blocked him from continuing on in the position.

William Perry Pendley has spent more than 400 days as acting director of the US Interior Department Bureau of Land Management. But US District Judge Brian Morris said his rulings were null and void during that time period as he has never been lawfully confirmed by the Senate.

The ruling came after Montana Governor Steve Bullock sued Pendley saying the ex-oil and gas industry attorney did not have authority to make decisions over his state’s public lands.

“Today’s ruling is a win for the Constitution, the rule of law, and our public lands,” the governor said in a statement.

The Trump administration has often relied on officials serving in an acting capacity to skirt around Constitutional requirements that senior government officials be confirmed by the Senate. The administration is known to churn through political appointees and Senate confirmation fights are often lengthy, high profile, and bitterly partisan affairs.

Conner Swanson, a spokesman for the Interior Department, called the decision “outrageous” and “well outside the bounds of law,” and added that it would be swiftly appealed.

With Post wires

Share this article:

Source: Read Full Article