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Predator of Our Public Lands

Joshua Tree National Park. Photo: Jeffrey St. Clair.

For generations, our country has been Mother Nature’s steward, setting aside and protecting important expanses of public lands for posterity. But what if these lands and natural resources suddenly got a “steward” who was a predator, rather than a protector?

Meet William Perry Pendley. For more than 40 years, he’s been a fringe political operative and lawyer for a network of loopy, anti-environmental extremists intent on helping corporate predators grab and plunder our national assets for their private profit.

And now — Holy Teddy Roosevelt! — developer-in-chief Donald Trump has named Pendley to be acting head of the Bureau of Land Management.

Yes, a guy who favors the wholesale privatization of your and my public lands is to oversee the future of America’s public lands. Indeed, Pendley has been lost in the ultra-right-wing weeds for years, screeching that the “Founding Fathers intended all lands owned by the federal government to be sold.”

That’s nuts, but nuttier yet is Pendley’s listing of a sextet of demons he believes are “at war” with western civilization: radical environmentalists, federal bureaucrats, the media, academia, Hollywood, and “ignorant” Americans who are “easily panicked” into believing in things like climate change.

But this caped corporate crusader saves most of his manic fury for the environmental movement, bizarrely proclaiming that its millions of adherents “don’t believe in human beings.”

Also, with funding from the Koch brothers and Big Oil, Pendley has been a fanatical fossil fuel proselytizer, even declaring in a moment of rapture that fracking is “an energy, economic, and environmental miracle!”

Don’t just keep an eye on this corporate extremist — don’t even blink! For updates, contact Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility at peer.org.

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James Hightower is an American syndicated columnist, progressive political activist, and author. 

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