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Bureau of Land Management Acting Director Won't Explain Climate Change Comments

Oct 11, 2019

Credit Bureau of Land Management

The Bureau of Land Management’s acting director says past comments he’s made doubting the existence of climate change are irrelevant. 

Reporters grilled William Perry Pendley at the annual Society of Environmental Journalists conference in Fort Collins. When asked about comments he’s made calling human-caused climate change fictional, Pendley refused to elaborate on how he formed those opinions. He instead cited a directive from his boss, Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, to look at climate impacts.

“Nope, not going to clarify. Those are my personal opinions," said Pendley. "The secretary staked out the position. I’m a marine. I follow orders. He’s told me the way it’s going to be, and that’s the way it’s going to be.”

Pendley has been the acting director since July but says he hasn’t been briefed by agency scientists on climate impacts on public land. The BLM oversees 247 million acres, or about one-eighth of the total landmass of the U.S.

Pendley also said past comments he’s made on opening the door to the sale of public lands, and comparing illegal immigration to a cancer are irrelevant in his current role.