OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Interior Secretary will lead BLM after judge ousts Pendley from public lands role | Trump, Biden spar over climate change at debate

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OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Interior Secretary will lead BLM after judge ousts Pendley from public lands role | Trump, Biden spar over climate change at debate | Trump official delays polar bear study with potential implications on drilling: report

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FILL-IN THE BERN: The Department of the Interior will not name a new acting director to lead the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) after it’s leader was ousted by a federal judge, top officials told employees in an email obtained by The Hill.

Instead the job will be left to Interior Secretary David Bernhardt.

A Montana-based U.S. district judge on Friday ruled William Perry Pendley, the controversial acting director of BLM, “served unlawfully … for 424 days” and enjoined him from continuing in the role.

The decision was in response to a suit from Montana Gov. Steve Bullock (D), who argued Pendley, whose nomination to lead the BLM was pulled by the White House last month, was illegally serving in his role through a series of temporary orders.

A Wednesday email makes clear that Interior will not be placing the top career official in charge of the nation’s public lands agency, as its department manual dictates.

“I understand there may be some questions about the ruling on Friday regarding William Perry Pendley’s leadership role at the Bureau of Land Management,” Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Land and Minerals Management Casey Hammond wrote in an email to BLM staff.

“Secretary Bernhardt leads the bureau and relies on the BLM’s management team to carry out the mission. Deputy Director for Programs and Policy, William Perry Pendley, will continue to serve in his leadership role.”

Judge Brian Morris, an Obama appointee, ruled Friday that Interior and the White House improperly relied on temporary orders far beyond the 210 days allotted in the Federal Vacancies Reform Act while also violating the Constitutional requirement to seek approval from the Senate.

“The President cannot shelter unconstitutional ‘temporary’ appointments for the duration of his presidency through a matryoshka doll of delegated authorities,” he wrote.

Pendley has sparked controversy over the course of the year he has led BLM due to his long history opposing federal ownership of public lands as well as comments he has made questioning climate change and the Black Lives Matter movement.

Putting Bernhardt at the helm of the agency appears to comply with the court order from Morris.

But critics say the move centralizes power for the agency in the highest political circles after relocating more than 200 Washington, D.C.,-based positions to Grand Junction, Colo., in order to bring employees closer to the lands they manage.

The move leaves just 61 BLM employees in Washington.

“Secretary Bernhardt’s decision to centralize final decision-making in Washington,

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Interior Secretary will lead BLM after judge ousts Pendley from public lands role

The Department of the Interior will not name a new acting director to lead the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) after it’s leader was ousted by a federal judge, top officials told employees in an email obtained by The Hill.

Instead the job will be left to Interior Secretary David Bernhardt.

A Montana-based U.S. district judge on Friday ruled William Perry Pendley, the controversial acting director of BLM, “served unlawfully … for 424 days” and enjoined him from continuing in the role.

The decision was in response to a suit from Montana Gov. Steve BullockSteve BullockOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Court removes Pendley from role as public lands chief | Pendley court ruling could unravel Trump’s public lands decisions | 1 in 4 adults cite climate change in decision not to have children Pendley court ruling could unravel Trump’s public lands decisions Court removes Pendley from role as public lands chief MORE (D), who argued Pendley, whose nomination to lead the BLM was pulled by the White House last month, was illegally serving in his role through a series of temporary orders. 

A Wednesday email makes clear that Interior will not be placing the top career official in charge of the nation’s public lands agency, as its department manual dictates.

“I understand there may be some questions about the ruling on Friday regarding William Perry Pendley’s leadership role at the Bureau of Land Management,” Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Land and Minerals Management Casey Hammond wrote in an email to BLM staff.

“Secretary Bernhardt leads the bureau and relies on the BLM’s management team to carry out the mission. Deputy Director for Programs and Policy, William Perry Pendley, will continue to serve in his leadership role.”

Judge Brian Morris, an Obama appointee, ruled Friday that Interior and the White House improperly relied on temporary orders far beyond the 210 days allotted in the Federal Vacancies Reform Act while also violating the Constitutional requirement to seek approval from the Senate.

“The President cannot shelter unconstitutional ‘temporary’ appointments for the duration of his presidency through a matryoshka doll of delegated authorities,” he wrote.

Pendley has sparked controversy over the course of the year he has led BLM due to his long history opposing federal ownership of public lands as well as comments he has made questioning climate change and the Black Lives Matter movement.

Hammond’s email includes a statement from Interior solicitor Daniel Jorjani making clear that the department will appeal as Bernhardt shepherds the BLM.

“The Department of the Interior believes this ruling is erroneous, fundamentally misinterprets the law and unreasonably attempts to up-end decades of practice spanning multiple presidential administrations from both parties. Nevertheless, the Department will comply with the Court’s Order, while we move forward with an appeal and review all other legal options,” Jorjani wrote.

“The Bureau of Land Management has not had a Senate-confirmed Director of the Bureau of Land Management during this Administration, nor has it named an Acting Director. This is still the case in respect to

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Cipollone, Meadows Lead White House Effort to Confirm Barrett to Supreme Court

WASHINGTON—President Trump has nominated Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court. But his White House’s work is just beginning.

While the decision to confirm Judge Barrett rests with the Senate, the job of vigorously defending her to reassure those lawmakers—and keep an already-accelerated process on track—will fall squarely to the Trump White House.

The West Wing will have help. The president’s robust re-election team, which has raised more than $1 billion and occupies three floors of a Washington-area office building with multiple TV studios and scores of staff, has been prepped to support the nominee. A coterie of conservative issue groups and public-relations firms are mounting their own $20 million marketing campaign.

But the tip of that spear remains Mr. Trump’s West Wing, which must overcome its own internal divisions, a dearth of deep relationships in the Senate and a mixed record of achievement on Capitol Hill.

Mr. Trump has replaced nearly all of his senior staff since Justice Neil Gorsuch was confirmed on April 7, 2017, and most of the top aides who helped with the last Supreme Court nominee, Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who was confirmed on Oct. 6, 2018.

Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and Pat Cipollone, the White House counsel, are both new to the job since Mr. Kavanaugh was confirmed. Their partnership will determine the success of the White House confirmation team, officials said.

President Trump with Judge Amy Coney Barrett at the White House nomination event on Saturday.



Photo:

Shawn Thew/Zuma Press

The White House team for Ms. Barrett’s confirmation has been slow to coordinate on messaging with its Senate counterparts, according to people familiar with the process. But others said it is on track, pointing out that Judge Barrett started filling out a lengthy Senate questionnaire ahead of the nomination, and much of her background vetting has been completed.

But the White House’s legislative-affairs office, which played a key role in previous confirmations, has seen its role diminished in recent months as Mr. Meadows, a former House member from North Carolina, has taken on some of those lobbying duties. The office is currently run by Amy Swonger, a former aide to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who has been operating with the title of acting director, even though the position doesn’t require Senate approval.

“What they’re up against is a very determined opposition and tight time frame,” said Jon Kyl, a former Republican senator from Arizona who helped guide Justice Kavanaugh’s intense confirmation process.

If Mr. Trump is successful in his push to install Judge Barrett before Nov. 3, he would be the first president in nearly 50 years to have a third Supreme Court nominee confirmed before facing re-election, according to Senate records. It may also stand as either the final significant achievement of Mr. Trump’s first term, or—depending on the outcome of the election—his last major act as president.

So far as president, few of Mr. Trump’s accomplishments have been marked by the kind of rapid and polished execution he

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Former interior minister to lead ruling party

PARIS

Former French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner was elected Thursday as the head of the ruling La Republique En Marche (LREM) party.

The party is seen as having a key role in the possible re-election of President Emmanuel Macron in 2022.

The party election on Thursday afternoon saw Castaner edge out his opponent, Aurore Berge, by 25 votes.

The official tally is 97 votes, or 36.06%, for Castaner, and 81 votes for Berge, or 30.11%.

Castaner takes the place of Gilles Le Gendre, who had resigned in order to strengthen the party and allow it to move forward with new vigor.

Castaner’s goal for the LREM is to return “collective pride” and “more transparency, more debates, and more requirements with the government,” he said in an interview to the magazine Journal du Dimanche.

As interior minister he banned the chokehold, often used by police officers during arrests, following a wave of Black Lives Matter protests globally. His move led to days-long protests by the French police who saw it as an infringement of their rights. The ban was later reversed.

When the LREM came to power in 2017, it held majority in the National Assembly. But in the course of a year 34 members jumped ships, pushing it to minority.



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