Our webinar to assist our readers that interact with federal agencies and legislators was a fast moving, interactive, discussion. Not one space was open; demonstrating the number of people actively engaged is rising.
Our readers range from those new to “wild horses” and several that are key members of groups and other organizations. This results in a broad range of understanding of the mechanisms of public lands management. Yet, last night the entire group demonstrated a hunger for depth, a desire to “connect the dots,” and an impressive will to engage.
WHE thank all that participated and am glad you are all “on the side of the wild.” You represent a base of real advocacy for the best interests of the wild ones. Thank you for participating and continuing to engage.
We will try to schedule another webinar as soon as time allows. Webinars allow us to tailor information to suit the relevant questions from individuals participating. In other words, it is a chance for us to speak with you and not at you. In those moments we can learn where deficits in info are, how we can expand existing articles or write new ones, provide the info to “cross the gap.”
There were a few subjects that we will place in this post.
Over the next three weeks there are opportunities for the public to “Speak Out.”
On Oct 29-31 the BLM Advisory Board is holding a meeting in DC. They request tat comments be received two weeks before the comment period (Oct 31). However, the board has not published an in-depth agenda; it is extremely vague. It is important that you remember the board itself has no legal authority, except the authority to make suggestions. Writing and speaking to the board should be seen as “a practice run” for addressing your legislators. We urge everyone to craft a letter and send it, even if it falls after the due date. If you could afford the plane ticket? Your comment could be received and/or spoken the of the event. Your voice matters just as much as those that can take time off, buy a plane ticket and sit in the room to hear the boards actual, specific, agenda and comment. (info on the meeting and where to send comments HERE)
The House bill ($6 million additional funding) and the Senate bill ($35 million) for the BLM Wild Horse and Burro program do not match in the Interior portion of Appropriations (what the spending bill process is called). The bills must be consolidated into one and be approved by the full floor in both House and Senate before going to the President to be signed. The bills are not law until signed.
Over the next three weeks we urge you to contact your representatives in the House and Senate, even if you have done it before. Find your reps HERE.
Key points to remember when you contact your reps:
One issue in each letter. Do not write a letter on multiple bills or areas of concern. Your reps get lots of mail, aides are not experts on each subject and your concerns can get lost. Your letter: identify the specific issue, identify the action you want taken, say something about yourself and why you are interested, repeat what you want them to do, ask for follow-up. Do the same for each issue you want addressed (ie, do not ask they cosponsor mining reform in the same letter you tell them to deny BLM additional funding in the wild horse program).
Wild horses are a public lands issue. It sounds simple, but legislators have been confused by years of mis-messaging (intentional and unintentional). Wild horses do not live in the law books that cover the world of the saddle and bridle. Wild horses live on public lands and in the law books of public lands law. We beg you, do not mention wild horses and the domestic bill, SAFE, in the same letter. A wild horse loses it’s wild status under law after adoption or sale and is considered a domestic under law. This basic confusion has legislators thinking the SAFE Act is about wild horses and it is a domestic law issue. This opened the door for corporate domestic orgs (that have a lot of money) to create the charade that they speak for wild horses.
The tragedy of the current budget debate (that includes the corporate sell-out to the livestock industry) has roots in legislators not understanding wild horses are in the same law books on National Monuments and public lands firefighting, not domestic horses. You can advocate for both wild and domestic, just not in the same letter.
Over the next three weeks? Get your keyboard busy and pick up the phone. Petitions are not going to be effective on this issue, all sides have them and include the same names because people are reading the sales pitch of the petition and not the actual agenda. In addition, there is an election year next year and your legislators need to hear from those that vote in their districts.
Our educational outreach to legislators went into full gear after being told by multiple members of Congress that “no one is saying what you are.” That statement was made as we provided the NAS Review and our trend data from the range that presented an entirely different picture than the information provided by the livestock industry and regurgitated by the BLM. The fact the no other org had presented that information? We placed educating Congress at the top of our “to do” list.
Wild Horse Education’s position:
No new funding for the BLM Wild Horse and Burro Program until BLM addresses the deficits outlined in the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) reviews. Since 1982 the NAS has been stating the program is not based on data, scientific analysis and the framework is fatally flawed. Each NAS review has been done at a considerable expense to the taxpayer and is ignored over the status quo. The 2013 review cost $1.5 million dollars.
Throwing additional funding into “business as usual” will collapse the program in three years. Large scale removals compound problems, they don’t solve them. Large scale removals of wild horses will collapse the holding budget and do not solve range degradation issues. They decimate a public resource that the agency is mandated to manage and protect.
Until BLM provides Congress with a full report on historic flaws, what they are doing to fix them, a preservation model focused on each herd and habitat, no new funding should be provided.
The BLM Report to Congress is now 2 months late.
Below you will find a partial resource list prepared after the webinar last night.
Categories: Wild Horse Education