OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Interior Secretary will lead BLM after judge ousts Pendley from public lands role | Trump, Biden spar over climate change at debate
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FILL-IN THE BERN: The Department of the Interior will not name a new acting director to lead the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) after its leader was ousted by a federal judge, top officials told employees in an email obtained by The Hill.
Instead the job will be left to Interior Secretary David Bernhardt.
A Montana-based U.S. district judge on Friday ruled William Perry Pendley, the controversial acting director of BLM, “served unlawfully … for 424 days” and enjoined him from continuing in the role.
The decision was in response to a suit from Montana Gov. Steve Bullock (D), who argued Pendley, whose nomination to lead the BLM was pulled by the White House last month, was illegally serving in his role through a series of temporary orders.
A Wednesday email makes clear that Interior will not be placing the top career official in charge of the nation’s public lands agency, as its department manual dictates.
“I understand there may be some questions about the ruling on Friday regarding William Perry Pendley’s leadership role at the Bureau of Land Management,” Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Land and Minerals Management Casey Hammond wrote in an email to BLM staff.
“Secretary Bernhardt leads the bureau and relies on the BLM’s management team to