William Perry Pendley is a conservative lawyer who most recently defended a company’s oil and gas lease on the sacred Badger-Two Medicine

A coalition of conservation and sportsmen groups on July 29 denounced the hiring of William Perry Pendley as the new acting co-director of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), saying his support for selling off millions of acres of public lands puts him at odds with the agency’s core mission, which is to administer public lands.

Pendley also has a deep connection to Northwest Montana — not as a resident, but rather in his prominent role defending oil and gas exploration on the Badger-Two Medicine region near Glacier National Park, where a decades-long showdown has been building to full froth in recent years.