BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A federal judge ruled Friday that the Trump administration's leading steward of public lands has been serving unlawfully and has blocked him from continuing in the position.
U.S. District Judge Brian Morris said U.S. Bureau of Land Management acting director William Perry Pendley served unlawfully for 424 days and was never confirmed to the post by the U.S. Senate.
Montana’s Democratic governor had sued to remove Pendley, saying the the former oil industry attorney was illegally overseeing an agency that manages almost a quarter-billion acres of land, primarily in the U.S. West.
Pendley had remained in charge under an arrangement that Pendley himself set up months ago. In a May 22 order, Pendley made his own position, deputy director, the bureau's top post while the director's office is vacant.
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