Wild Horse Education

Nevada Legislature and “Water Wars”

Humbolt Roundup Day 5, temporary holding

Humbolt Roundup Day 5, temporary holding

EDITED: This bill has been pulled! Thank you all for your support. We are watching for inclusion as amendment to existing bills. THANK YOU!

When you advocate for wild horses and burros you must be vigilant to the constant attempts at destruction of the herds. Often the public gets confused over who the real culprits are that either want to see wild horses removed from the range or to be allowed to make a profit off their slaughter.

Agencies like the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) are essentially “regulatory” agencies that carry out policy or laws primarily directed by Congress. The agency also tends to “catch the heat” that should be squarely dropped in the laps of those walking the halls in DC. More on that in an article and action item later this month.

If you are following issues of wild horse and burro management on public land you have likely seen a lot written about states, counties and local “associations” taking actions against wild horses. A huge political agenda these days are “state’s rights” over “federal jurisdiction.”

Humbolt HA "zero out" 2015. Wild horses being driven past domestic cattle

Humbolt HA “zero out” 2015. Wild horses being driven past domestic cattle


We have yet one more attempt by the State of Nevada to exclude wild horses and burros from water. Yes, you read that right. The Legislature meets every two years and every two years the nefarious “good old boys” try to slip language into one bill or another to actually begin to deny wild horses and burros a right to drink water.

Here is the current text of SB 235 https://www.leg.state.nv.us/Session/78th2015/Bills/SB/SB235.pdf

Section 1. NRS 501.097 is hereby amended to read as follows:  501.097 “Wildlife” means any wild mammal, wild bird, fish,  reptile, amphibian, mollusk or crustacean found naturally in a wild 4state [,] and managed by the Department or the United States Fish  and Wildlife Service, whether indigenous to Nevada or not and whether raised in captivity or not.

The Nevada “Department” of Agriculture and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service do not manage wild horses and burros as “wildlife.” The BLM and US Forest Service (USFS) are the agencies mandated by the Wild FreeRoaming Horses and Burros Act (WFRH&B Act).

So essentially this bill “hides” the attempt made last session in AB329 that basically said “all free roaming horses and burros in Nevada are to be classified as feral.” However it would accomplish the very same thing.

As wild horses and burros are managed under federal jurisdiction on federal land this is an area that concerns ALL American’s and not just those residing in the state of Nevada.

Please tell the State of Nevada that it does not control the federal government, nor does it control the way the federal government defines wildlife. Wild horses and burros on BLM and FS land are wild by mandate of the United States Congress and signed into law in 1971.

HERE is the direct link to the NV Legislature to give your opinion on the bill. Add SB235 in the scroll down bar and have at it: https://www.leg.state.nv.us/App/Opinions/78th2015/A/

For those of you looking for more information here is the list of current Nevada State Senators: https://www.leg.state.nv.us/App/Legislator/A/Senate/

2014 Trespass Livestock in Eureka County

2014 Trespass Livestock in Eureka County

Additional Information

The Senator Introducing this bill (the same as last go around) is Pete Goicoechea.

It should be noted that Pete has had a long history as a public lands rancher enjoying the use of public land to literally build his “empire.” Here is a current listing of public land allotments that are utilized by Pete. http://www.blm.gov/nv/st/en/fo/ely_field_office/blm_programs/grazing/grazing_permit_renewals/grazing_permit_summaries0/pete_goicoechea_term.print.html

What is very interesting about Pete’s allotments is where they sit. These allotments are primarily the “in between” of Triple B and the Diamond Complex. If you look at the HMA Map look between Diamond and Buck and Bald (Buck and Bald are part of the Triple B Complex)  http://www.blm.gov/style/medialib/blm/wo/Planning_and_Renewable_Resources/wild_horses_and_burros/public_land_stats.Par.27806.File.dat/nv_ne_hma_map.pdf

Pete has been very active in many instances to remove wild horses including actions taken in supporting the recently defunct federal legal action through the Nevada Association of Counties (NACO) and Nevada Farm Bureau. This action was triggered by drought restrictions to livestock in the Diamonds: http://wildhorseeducation.org/2012/07/16/diamond-drought-report-issued-by-whe/ (Of note is that the Ely BLM during the Diamond Complex roundup spent two days trying to get 12 horses that were in one of Pete’s allotments. Was that a good use of federal funds? Roundup video: http://wildhorseeducation.org/diamond-complex/)

Cows watch as wild horses are loaded to leave the range forever

Cows watch as wild horses are loaded to leave the range forever

Also of note is that Pete’s son, JJ Goicoechea, is a Eureka County Commissioner. (Here is a letter penned by JJ expressing extreme displeasure at the livestock restrictions suggested by a member of the Nevada Department of Wildlife, NDOW http://www.elkocountynv.net/Grouse/Eureka_County_Response_to_NDOW_Comment.pdf) JJ is also the county commissioner (along with others) involved in the current action against the release of birth control treated mares into the Fish Creek HMA, in support of trespass rancher Kevin Borba. http://wildhorseeducation.org/2015/02/22/standoff-obstructs-pioneering-effort-for-wild-horses/

The illustrations of the “anti wild horse” web in states like Nevada can continue into a literal novel of family connections and business ties.

This year we will see things hit a fever pitch in this fourth year of drought. The sage grouse legislation hanging like a noose waiting for necks. Lines are drawn and drawn again as states continually push to gain control of federal land and resources to keep the local political stranglehold on your public land.


We will keep you updated on the “Battle Nevada” as things unfold.

WildHorseEducation.org is devoted to gaining protections from abuse, slaughter and extinction of our wild horses and burros.

Categories: Wild Horse Education