“Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility and Western Watersheds Project filed a supplemental complaint Monday, building off of their previous lawsuit challenging Interior’s reappointments of the heads of the Bureau of Land Management and National Park Service. In Monday’s supplemental filing, the groups allege William Perry Pendley is disqualified from remaining in the de facto acting role atop BLM, given that the Federal Vacancies Reform Act states a person may not serve as an acting officer for an office if that person is also nominated to that same office. The president sent Pendley’s nomination for permanent director of BLM last week.
Pendley currently serves as deputy director for policy and programs at BLM, “exercising authority of the director,” which the complaint alleges violates the Federal Land Policy and Management Act’s mandatory qualifications and thus is unlawful under the Administrative Procedure Act. The department’s June 5 use of “succession orders” allowing Pendley to retain his position as leader of BLM also violates FVRA and the APA, the complaint alleges, adding the action “was taken by the Department in reaction to the initial Complaint in this lawsuit” and that “no termination date applies to these new appointments, thus they are not temporary.””