Aug. 15 (UPI) -- The Trump administration withdrew the nomination of William "Perry" Pendley to the Bureau of Land Management Saturday amid political pressure from both sides of the aisle.
The public lands agency manages about one-tenth of the landmass of the United States, but has not had a permanent, Senate-confirmed director since President Donald Trump was inaugurated.
Pendley was formally nominated to lead the bureau in June, but has been leading the agency under the title of deputy director since last August -- on an interim basis that has been extended several times.
In May environmental protection groups filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Interior over Interior Secretary David Bernhardt's order to extend Pendley's appointment, along with that of NPS Deputy Director David Vela, whose interim appointment had also been repeatedly extended.
Prior to leading BLM, Pendley spent years working for the Mountain States Legal Foundation, often challenging the agency he now leads and making statements in favor of selling off federal public land.
White House and Interior officials told the Washington Post that Pendley would continue to serve in his current appointed role as deputy director of the BLM, which effectively keeps him in charge of the still-leaderless agency.