Horse News

Bernhardt taps top agency official as acting BLM director


Scott Streater, E&E News reporter

Casey Hammond, the Interior Department’s principal deputy assistant secretary for land and minerals management, visiting Mesa Verde National Park in April 2018. @SecretaryZinke/Twitter

Interior Secretary David Bernhardt quietly signed an order placing a top Interior Department official in charge of the Bureau of Land Management through at least the end of July.

Casey Hammond, Interior’s principal deputy assistant secretary for land and minerals management, will exercise all “functions, duties, and responsibilities” of BLM director, according to Bernhardt’s order, which is dated May 11.

The secretarial order also extends the temporary appointments of eight other “Presidentially appointed and Senate-confirmed positions” through July 31, including Kate MacGregor as acting deputy Interior secretary, Daniel Jorjani as acting Interior solicitor, P. Daniel Smith as acting National Park Service director and Margaret Everson as acting director of the Fish and Wildlife Service.

The only new appointment covered in the order is Hammond’s.

Neither Interior nor BLM has made any formal announcement about Hammond, who is replacing Brian Steed, the bureau’s deputy director of policy and programs, who was granted the authority to act as director in October 2017 by former Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.

The news comes as Steed — still listed on BLM’s website as the deputy director of policy and programs “exercising authority of the director” — was confirmed by the Utah Senate yesterday for a Cabinet-level position on Gov. Gary Herbert’s staff.

Herbert (R) announced last month that he had appointed Steed as executive director of Utah’s Department of Natural Resources, subject to state Senate confirmation (Greenwire, April 30).

BLM did not respond to requests for answers on Hammond’s temporary assignment, when he started at the bureau or when Steed left the bureau.

Herbert’s office had said Steed would take the helm of the Department of Natural Resources on June 1.

But a source with knowledge of the situation said Hammond has been in the acting position since last week.

Furthermore, the source said it was Hammond who instructed BLM to remove boilerplate language from its news releases that describes the bureau’s mission as helping conserve public lands for future generations (Greenwire, May 15).


12 replies »


    From PEER ( Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility)

    Legitimacy of ACTING DIRECTORS of Parks, BLM, and Fish & Wildlife Remains in Doubt

    The legal authority of the acting heads in three major Interior Department agencies is still up in the air, according to the General Counsel of Interior’s own Office of Inspector General (IG). Consequently, the validity of months of actions taken by the current and former acting directors for the National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, and Fish & Wildlife Service is subject to court challenge, potentially nullifying much of the Trump administration’s resource agenda.

    “[V]iolations of the Vacancies Reform Act have been historically addressed in Federal District Courts in actions brought by aggrieved parties who are affected by a Federal Government decision made or action taken in violation of the Vacancies Act. That avenue remains available to any party with standing to challenge a decision by Department officials”;

    Liked by 1 person

    • So pretty much what this guy has done for years? is to criticize the federal agencies that were put in place to protect the land and wild animals & their habitat AND the employees and the science used for that protection. Now he will probably start cleaning out any employees who have been doing their job & put some more doofus’s in place like himself. Gosh, what could go wrong there? Also, I wondered if he was related to the criminal Hammonds, too.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. “What kind of bloodthirsty moron shoots bear cubs, or hibernating animals? Don’t tell me that’s sporting. I’ll laugh myself silly. What kind of useless bureaucrat goes out of their way to make it easier to do so, and on land that belongs to all of us?”
    Rumor has it that Casey Hammond removed the part of a recent bill that required hunters to NOT kill bear cubs in their dens.

    “Hammond was a member of one of the “beachhead teams” dispatched by the new administration to make life miserable for the people in the executive branch who do the actual work of helping to govern the country. He came there straight off the staff of the House Natural Resources Committee, which is chaired by Rep. Rob Bishop of Utah, presently in the news for advocating that national monuments be shrunk so as to make more public land open for the extraction industries and, presumably, for people who like to kill things just to watch them die. Today’s word of the day is “despoil,” and it is general all over this government.”


  3. According to Propublica :

    “Trump has NOT moved to fill many jobs that require Senate confirmation – instead hundreds of officials have been installed on the QT to serve as ‘eyes and ears’ at every major federal agency….
    Members of these so-called “beachhead teams” have operated largely in the shadows, with the WH declining to publicly reveal their identities.”

    As an “acting” official, (considered temporarily permanent?), the person cannot be impeached as one with Senate confirmation. tRUMP has many “actors” in place for this reason.
    While David Bernhardt’s confirmation as official Director of DOI makes him very impeachable, he has manipulated Casey Hammond into that “smoke & mirrors’ position that is not. Hammond was responsible for the change in the BLM ‘mission statement’ as was reported, and is exposing more of what has been their dark agenda all along.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The Power to Impeach Executive Officers (excerpts)

    By Keith E. Whittington

    The antics of the Trump administration have raised the profile of many unusual and little-discussed features of the Constitution. Let me add another one to the list.

    Article II, Section 4 of the Constitution says that the “President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.” As a practical matter, the impeachment power has primarily been exercised on two types of federal civil officers: presidents and judges. Over the course of its history, the U.S. House of Representatives has passed articles of impeachment in 19 cases. Seventeen of those cases involved a president or a federal judge.

    Executive-branch officers who have proven to be a problem have generally been removable by the president, avoiding the need for the impeachment power. Executive officers mired in scandal have customarily had the good grace to resign from office rather than forcing the president’s hand. In 1876, President Ulysses Grant’s secretary of war, William Belknap, tendered his resignation when it became apparent that the House would impeach him for corruption. However, with corruption rampant in the Grant administration, the House decided to make an example of Belknap and voted to impeach him anyway.

    The Trump administration might tempt the House to revive its impeachment power.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. An investigation toward impeachment proceedings needs to be formally started against David Bernhardt immediately! Regardless of the drag on impeachment hearings to take down tRUMP being commenced by the House and Pelosi, (which may start after tomorrow when McGhan refuses to comply with subpoena), Bernhardt needs to be charged with the violations in defrauding the American public.
    The BLM needs to be charged with their complicity in raping and pillaging our federal wildlands. The fate of our Wild Horses and endangered species needs to be entirely taken out their ruthless murdering hands! If your hair isn’t already on fire, it should be.


  6. The office of NANCY PELOSI (Speaker of the House, etc.) :


    Go directly to the top and DEMAND that a formal investigation into David Bernhardt and the BLM be initiated!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Precisely Deborah. These bureaucrats have been entrenched through many administrations. It’s very clear that they have no interest in protecting the interests of the American Public…for which they show nothing but contempt.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. It appears that they have taken their ‘contempt’ to unprecedented ‘ lows’, LC. There is no time like the present to say ‘Bernhardt & BLM… YOUR karma just got delivered’. And I hope it burns like hell.

    Liked by 1 person

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