On the Desk: Mining, Livestock and Oil and Gas (as well as Appropriations)


In order to grow up wild and free on the range, the range needs to be protected

Our wild horses are the only animal in our nation defined legally by the land it stands, not what it is biologically. Without the land it stands, there is no wild horse.

Over the last several weeks a bombshell of sorts was thrown into the wild horse advocacy community. The political sell-out of wild horses by corporate animal organizations to gain ground on their domestic bills, and create a new subsidy system for the products they sell, has the public reeling. This unholy alliance of government welfare check seekers playing politics with our wild horses, wild things and public lands has entered into a dangerous game in the creation of Appropriations language that will (not may) destroy the truly wild herds we have left. (more HERE)

The Appropriations (spending) bills in Congress deserve your attention. The process has many layers and each year creates confusing messages as the bills move through subcommittees, committees and both houses of Congress. We told you to expect it to be worse this year, and the danger we have watched created in 2016 by corporate orgs that has been undermining “boots on the ground” efforts for three years, is now public knowledge.

The best way to deal with this subterfuge is to go after the corruption inside the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) that is set to carry this backdoor deal over the goal line. (MORE HERE)

For an organization like Wild Horse Education, one highly specialized and focused on the “wild” under law, we want to remind you of some of the rest of the work to protect our wild ones is ongoing and intense.

The work these million dollar corporate interests that hoped into bed with the “land grab machine” either have no knowledge of, don’t care about, or have donors highly invested in, the destruction of “the land they stand.” The work for the wild has been under an all out assault the last three years.

The battle in Appropriations has an underlying factor, control. Control over funding (millions in subsidies) and control over the land (the water and forage our wild ones need). Removing 10-20K a year, sterilizing herds and new subsidies for holding? BLM is also asking for the authority to cut out analysis of the damage to wild horses through removals, the ability to divert funding into more fences for cows and even to pay livestock permittees in “public/private partnership” for sterilized wild horses on public land allotments. It’s a mess.

We are in the thick of a resource grab and your wild horses are going to pay the price.

2018_0203 - 1 (8)

Roundups begin long before a chopper flies. Often the reason comes down to “wild horses get hit by mining trucks and create a problem.”

Oil and gas lease sales

Oil and gas leasing is happening so fast on your public lands. The most arid states in the nation have had oil and gas (fracking) lease sales proposed in wild horse territory at least three times a year in each and every state, district by district. That’s a lot of paperwork to create comments on. Even if BLM cancels certain parcels in one round, they move them several yards, and offer in the next round, and you have to redo all your comments. If you miss a step? it weakens your case if you have to litigate.


Common language you see cut and pasted for wild horses. All those Wild Horse and Burro Specialists that claim they are “overworked?” Nonsense, the only overwork are on the cut and paste keys on their keyboards.

If it goes from exploration into production? It gets even more complex to stop it. In addition the corporation uses the amount of time and money invested as a legal jump point. They have attorneys that make a lot of money burying you in paperwork.

Over the last two years we have been commenting on these projects laying a foundation to litigate in many districts.

Another is due on May 24th out of Ely NV. Did you know that? (click HERE)

Click and send comment letters and petitions do not work in this process. We have gotten comments in and they represent our readers, members and volunteer staff. BLM has no data to justify taking more acreage away from wild horses, particularly for an interest that will damage water, air, etc.

If you are one of those people that like to read  court documents this is Judge Hicks ruling on a case at Triple B (not ours) that states, among many things, that it is irrelevant how many form letters an organization generate. This case lost in district court and is on Appeal (TripleB_HicksOrder) The ruling is always in the last three pages if you are looking for it. We do not have time to simply screengrab the citation that notes the number of comments are irrelevant of the substance is not legally supported. 

Oil and gas lease sales have been coming so fast, changing dates and even jurisdictional lines, that to write an article explaining each one and why we commented as we did, crafting comments for you, is simply not possible with all that is going on. In light of the standing ruling above, that can be sited in any litigation our opponents might bring, is simply not a priority at this time.

Read on… and you will see what else is “on the desk.”

Hard Rock Mining

At this time WHE has active litigation that has stalled a mine that will decimate the heart of a herd. That litigation is active. We have had a conference. We are waiting to see what the BLM will come back with.

In addition we have a mine expanding at Triple B, three more expanding in other areas, and two new mines going in to wild horse territory.

We are getting site specific analysis comments on file and are ready to take BLM to task over destroying more wild horse territory.


Cows? what cows? The wild horses did it all according to BLM


Livestock projects (fencing etc) are also moving rapidly and impacting wild horse territory. These projects are cutting off wild horses from critical habitat; water and forage (we told you about a few when we wrote about Silver King.)

We are getting comments on record and protesting as many of these as we can.

There are also issues of BLM prioritizing county requests over appropriate actions for wild horses. Often these lead to man-made “crisis” out of corruption, ineptness or laziness. Many of these issues the law does not leave room for direct litigation. But there are other ways to deal with these “friends and family clubs.” We will have more on this soon for you to read and take informed action.

2018_TripleB - 1 (2)

Roundup of wild horses on a range that had heavy mountain lion predation. BLM removed wild horses and Department of Wildlife killed the mountain lions in time for livestock turnout.

As we continue to address the chaos and corruption involved in Appropriations we have not discontinued our fight for the wild.

Without the land it stands on, forage and clean water, there is no wild horse.

Just like the investigation into Grand Staircase being eyed by oil and gas and moved through corrupt channels to obtain the goal, we need one into wild horses.

A New Mexico senator and Minnesota congresswoman are asking for an investigation of whether the Interior Department broke the law in conducting studies about possibly leasing land for oil and gas drilling in original boundaries of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.


Please make a call to your Representatives. Click the link below for an easy action item to help us STOP the gutting of the Wild Horse and Burro Act. That is the agenda of this round of Appropriations. We are making strides to get this done and YOUR CALLS are important!


Featured Image -- 131884

Help us stay in the fight.





Categories: Legal