Trump appointee William Perry Pendley served unlawfully as acting head of the Bureau of Land Management for 424 days, a U.S. district judge ruled in ordering Pendley's immediate removal from office. Chief District Judge Brian Morris, based in Great Falls, Montana, said he would hear arguments in the near future on which of Pendley's orders must be vacated, reported Drovers.
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said he took over the 70,000-person department certain that “I got 30 percent of the crew that’s not loyal to the flag,” meaning President Trump and his agenda, reported the Associated Press. Zinke said he’s pursuing a major reorganization that would move much of the department’s decision making outside of Washington in an effort to break up entrenched attitudes.
The U.S. Customs and Border Patrol says it could use a 2005 anti-terrorism law — the Real ID Act — to all President Trump’s border wall to be built through a national wildlife refuge in Texas, without having to conduct an environmental impact studies. The studies are usually mandated for any new construction on federal lands under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, in New England as part of his ongoing review of national monuments, told Reuters that the United States can become a “dominant” energy force by boosting mining and drilling on federal lands.
With the release of the 2018 White House Budget proposal, environmentalists and public lands advocates are worried over a $1.4 billion (10.9 percent) cut to the Interior Department. The proposal targets federal lands, opens oil drilling in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), and cancels money set aside to bring economic opportunities to Appalachia — often in the form of farming ventures.