“The acting head of the National Park Service abruptly announced his retirement on Friday, vacating a role that a Senate-confirmed nominee has not held during the entire Trump administration.
David Vela, a 30-year career NPS official who assumed the role of acting director of the agency in October, will retire in September, the Interior Department said. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt said Margaret Everson, principal deputy director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and an adviser to Bernhardt, immediately assumes the authority to lead the NPS.
Since assuming office, President Donald Trump has left many leadership and senior-level positions empty across federal agencies, including at the Interior Department, the parent department to the NPS.
Senate Democrats are clamoring for a nomination hearing for the acting head of the BLM, which oversees federal lands and the leasing of oil, gas and coal from those territories.
William Perry Pendley took the helm at BLM in the summer of 2019, but Trump only formally nominated him June 30.
The nonpartisan advocacy group Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, or PEER, sued Pendley and Vela in May, arguing their appointments violated federal law and criticizing the department for allowing the temporary agency head to enact policies with potential long-term consequences.”