The Trump administration’s method of keeping the controversial acting head of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in power even after his nomination is withdrawn is likely not legal, according to experts who have reviewed the orders.

Over the weekend, it was made public that

’s nomination will be withdrawn amid doubts he had the votes to be confirmed. Democrats all opposed the nomination because of Pendley’s opposition to federal ownership of public lands and his controversial comments on climate change and the Black Lives Matter movement. 

But Pendley is still running the agency because of succession orders dictating that the acting chief will lead the department if the director role remains unfilled. 

Interior previously had relied on a series of temporary delegations of power to keep Pendley and other Interior officials in office, even though they have not been Senate confirmed.

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