Many of us that follow wild horses and public land often find ourselves dealing with mountains of paperwork. Most of that paperwork resembles “finals week” at an Ivy League school; crunch deadlines to give input on a plethora of documents thrown at you one on top of the other without time to take a breath. However each exam has common underlying variables, “w, t, f.” Those variables identified by those that spend considerable time in the lab, or in this case, in the field. The underlying variable inserted by the “aides” to the teacher under threat to keep their scholarship. Those variables have an identifier as well, fiction. Then we get an exam on fiction as fact and the room is split between those brown nosing to get an “A” and those ready to set fire to the exam, likely to get expelled from the University of WTF. (We hope you were able to follow that simplistic analogy of dealing with federal land management)
Federal land management, that includes wild horses, is run on politics not on facts, completing all the assignments or the law. That should be more evident to all of you now more than ever.
Last week Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) pushed back on healthcare, representing those in her district. She was strong armed. Ryan Zinke, Secretary of the Department of Interior (oversees public land), contacted Murkowski and threatened her with a “lack of support” for projects she considers crucial in her state (oil, gas, mineral extraction). In the real world that is called extortion.
We have witnessed this kind of strong arming for years when it comes to wild horses and public land. We have watched those employed by the federal government cowed (intentional use of the word), twisted, brain washed… the equivalent of relentless psychological abuse. We have watched physical threats thrown. We have watched threats to jobs.
To continue the classroom analogy we have experienced the student that is getting picked on by the bully expect the students that are “outliers” to stuff the bully in a locker. It works for short periods of time and the bullies change target to the outlier. But at some point if the classroom doesn’t all stand against the bully, the outlier just gets expelled.
Raul Grijalva is trying to get the “administration of the school” to hold the bully accountable. Grijalva has called on the House to open a probe into abuses of power by Secretary Zinke. Grijalva is the minority chair of the House Committee that oversees the Department of Interior.
However this is not the first such probe Grijalva has requested. Earlier this year he requested a probe into the connections that multiple “front groups” have that are used to threaten federal land managers. We wrote about a hearing last year, that Grijalva held unofficially because he could not get agreement from the Majority Chair, Bishop (R-UT). (you can view that hearing in an article we wrote earlier this year and we urge you to read the whole thing: https://wildhorseeducation.org/2017/05/17/posttruth-a-few-wild-facts-you-should-know-in-these-dangerous-times-part-one/)
The problem with getting these hearings to the floor is that they have to break through the Majority leaders. In the House that is Rob Bishop of Utah. In the Senate, it’s Murkowski.
WHE has been working with members of both the House and Senate. Was this latest move by one of the “bullies in the classroom” enough to get the other “kids” to stand up? We don’t know yet. If Murkowsi is included in any probe in the Senate the chair tasks would be completed by Tom Udall. As wild horse advocates we all know Udall who has championed equine issues many times. Grijalva will have to deal with Bishop, unless Bishop is implicated.
Just how confident are the “bullies” that their agenda will not be challenged? We are writing a second piece dealing just with wild horses to be released as soon as we can get it off the keyboard and will link it here. (If you like this article we have another you should read: https://wildhorseeducation.org/2017/06/21/follow-the-rules-we-needed-a-new-law/)
We will have multiple action items in the next few weeks that will require you take action. You can get those alerts by following this website (just enter info into the “follow this site” box in the sidebar) or by following us on Facebook (Wild Horse Education) or Twitter (@WildHorseEduc).
If you would like to add your name and a comment to the letter we will send, with more documentation, in support of the request (s) to probe internal intimidation of federal land management practices. Add your information below.
Let’s support Raul Grijalva’s sane request to search for the facts!