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Bullock Suit Alleges BLM's Pendley Is Violating Federal Law

Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument in central Montana

A lawsuit filed by Gov. Steve Bullock in federal court Monday alleges that Bureau of Land Management Deputy Director William Perry Pendley is violating federal law by exercising the authority of the bureau’s director while awaiting confirmation from the Senate.

The Trump administration recently nominated Pendley to become BLM’s director. In a press release, Bullock said Pendley is violating federal law by serving as BLM’s acting director while awaiting his Senate confirmation.

The U.S. Department of Interior oversees BLM. In an emailed statement, the department called the lawsuit “frivolous” and “politically motivated.” The department also claimed that Pendley has never served as acting director.

Last year, Interior Secretary David Bernhardt issued an order temporarily giving Pendley the authority of BLM’s director. That order has since been renewed.

Aaron Bolton is Montana Public Radio's Flathead Valley reporter.
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