GRAND JUNCTION, Colo.- While in Grand Junction making a campaign stop Saturday, which also happened to be National Public Lands Day, democrat U.S. Senate candidate John Hickenlooper weighed in on a federal judge’s decision Friday to remove William Perry Pendley from his position as Bureau of Land Management Director.
This is important news for the Western Slopt becuase the BLM is headquartered in Grand Junction, much of which is surrounded by BLM public lands outside of town.
Pendley has come under fire by democrats for calling for the sale of public lands for fossil fuel extraction. He also has been a subject of debate in the race for U.S. Senate in Colorado.
John Hickenlooper has repeatedly called out his opponent, incumbent republican, Senator Cory Gardner, for not taking a stance on whether he supports Pendley’s nomination to head the BLM.
The Associated Press reports the Pendley’s removal came after Montana’s democratic governor had sued to remove Pendley, saying he was unlawfully serving as director because he was never confirmed by the U.S. Senate. The Associated Press also reports U.S. District Judge Brian Morris said Friday that Pendley was never confirmed to his post by the U.S. Senate as required under the Constitution and served unlawfully in the roll for 424 days.
A spokesperson for the U.S. Department of the Interior told the Associated Presss the ruling will be immediately appealed.
Hickenlooper says he always was opposed to Pendley, and hopes to bring new ideas to the Senate if elected in terms of protecting public lands.
“We don’t want people that are former lobbyists for the coal industry, former lobbyists for the oil and gas industry to come in and ostensibly protect our public lands when they’re really trying to lease everything they can,” Hickenlooper said. “I want to make sure that we’re taking advantage of our public lands and utilizing that resource.”
Hickenlooper says one way he hopes to bolster public lands if elected to the the Senate is to create an Office of Outdoor Recreation in the U.S. Department of Commerce, which he says would lead to more jobs and economic revenue for communities.