Montana Hunters Deeply Concerned About BLM Director William Perry Pendley

Pendley stands in front of the a for sale sign that is planted on public lands. lands in A newly released poll from the Montana Wildlife Federation shows that Montana hunters have serious concerns about Acting Director of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) William Perry Pendley and the anti-public lands policies he has pushed for throughout his career.

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) manages 250 million acres of public land across the West and 700 million acres of subsurface mineral rights. Since the beginning of 2017, the BLM has been managed by a series of temporary directors. Currently, William Perry Pendley is the Acting Director of the BLM. Pendley has a decades-long history of advocating for the sale or privatization of public lands, has conflicts of interests involving lawsuits with the Interior Department, and has fought against the multiple-use mission of the BLM.

According to the recently released poll, 78% of Montana hunters are concerned about the current Acting Director of the BLM, with 57% ‘very concerned’ and 21% ‘somewhat concerned.

Alec Underwood, the Federal Conservation Campaigns Director of the Montana Wildlife Federation, said the following:

“It is telling that nearly 80 percent of Montana hunters are concerned about the current director of the Bureau of Land Management. William Perry Pendley fought against public lands and the multiple-use mandate of the BLM for decades. Keeping Pendley in such an influential position with the BLM threatens the very places we hunt and fish, and the habitat needed for fish and wildlife to thrive there.”

The impacts of the current BLM director are shown in the Lewistown Resource Management Plan, which was recently released for public input. The final RMP leaves 95% of surface acres open for oil and gas drilling and development, jeopardizing access to public lands and key wildlife habitat. The poll shows that only 35% of Montana hunters agree with the Trump Administration’s push to open more lands to oil and gas development in the state, with 60% believing the amount should be kept the same or decreased.

Nearly all of the lands prioritized for oil and gas development in the Lewistown planning area have little to no potential for profitable oil and gas development, setting up the area to be a hotspot for non-competitive leasing. Under this process, companies are allowed to lease public lands that were not formally bid on in the leasing process for a small filing fee of $1.50 an acre which has ended up costing the state of Montana hundreds of millions of dollars in the past 10 years.

This newly released poll shows that 67 percent of Montana hunters disapprove of the non-competitive leasing process.

Tracy Stone-Manning, associate vice president of public lands for the National Wildlife Federation, said:

“Montana has lost out on tens of millions of dollars each year in lost revenue because of the federal government’s mismanaged oil and gas leasing process. It’s no surprise that 67% of Montana hunters disapprove of the non-competitive leasing process and it is time to come together to end this wasteful government process that solely benefits oil and gas companies.”

“These undeveloped, roadless landscapes are some of the most productive wildlife habitat in North America and should be protected for their wilderness characteristics and outdoor recreation hotspots that are important to Eastern Montana’s economy and way of life. Prioritizing these lands for oil and gas development and noncompetitive leasing is a waste of an inherently valuable resource,” said Aubrey Bertram, eastern field director for the Montana Wilderness Association.

Take a look at the eastern Montana poll results or contact Melissa Petrich at (253) 861-3927

Take Action Now:  Help stop Pendley today by telling the Secretary of the Interior, David Bernhardt, that we need a qualified individual to head the BLM.

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Alec Underwood

Senior Policy & evelopment Director

Alec is responsible for developing and implementing MWF’s federal conservation advocacy and policy campaigns to protect Montana’s fish and wildlife. He spends most of his free time hunting big game and fly fishing Montana’s cherished trout rivers. He also enjoys backpacking, skiing, photography, and woodworking.