Opponent of nation’s public lands is picked to oversee them

National News

FILE – In this Oct. 8, 2018 file photo, emigrant Peak is seen rising above the Paradise Valley and the Yellowstone River near Emigrant, Mont. The Trump administration has put a conservative advocate who argues for selling off the nation’s public lands in charge of the nation’s 250 million public acres. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt on Monday signed an order making William Perry Pendley acting head of the Bureau of Land Management, putting the lawyer and Wyoming native in charge of public lands and their resources. (AP Photo/Matthew Brown)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration has put a conservative advocate who argues for selling off the nation’s public lands in charge of the nation’s nearly 250 million public acres.

Interior Secretary David Bernhardt on Monday signed an order making William Perry Pendley acting head of the Bureau of Land Management. The move puts the lawyer and Wyoming native in charge of the nation’s public lands and their resources.

Pendley contends the writers of the U.S. Constitution intended to sell off nearly all of the country’s federally owned land. Pendley accuses environmental groups of blocking ranchers and miners from profiting off publicly owned range and forest.

The Wilderness Society conservation advocacy group’s spokesman Tony Iallonardo says he fears the Trump administration is positioning itself to “liquidate” the nation’s public lands and resources.

The Interior Department made no immediate comment with Pendley’s appointment.

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