Wild Horse Education

Welfare Ranching; Comment Period


The number of skinny cows left to fend for themselves on public land increases as US taxpayers subsidize the industry to the tune of over a billion dollars a decade. Only 3% of US beef is produced on all of public lands.

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has initiated an initial scoping period to revamp the federal grazing program. BLM uses this phrase to initiate scoping: The current grazing regulations require revisions to update, modernize and streamline the grazing administration regulations, and provide greater flexibility for land and resource management.  Through this rulemaking, the BLM seeks to improve existing land use planning and grazing permitting procedures while simultaneously promoting conservation on public lands.

You can access the documents, and see the meeting schedule, at this link: https://eplanning.blm.gov/epl-front-office/eplanning/planAndProjectSite.do?methodName=renderDefaultPlanOrProjectSite&projectId=1500093&dctmId=0b0003e88145caa9

Scoping comments are due March 6, 2020. You can provide comments in person at one of the meetings, use the form at the link above and mail written comments to the Idaho BLM that is serving as a central hub for these “revisions.” (For those of you that follow our work John Ruhs, former NV State Director and former Deputy Director in DC, now helms ID BLM. Ruhs was a central figure in the article written by Christopher Ketcham and later featured in his book “This Land, How Cowboys, Capitalism and Corruption are Ruining the American West.”)

Back in October we wrote about some of the new grazing schemes being rammed through, including protocols that make determining illegal use of rangelands even more difficult. (HERE) The intention of the “reform” now open for public comment is not to decrease damage done by industry, it is to fulfill an agenda that is directly tied to things like William Perry Pendley, acting BLM Chief, and his recusal list. Perry is an outspoken anti-public lands attorney slid into his position without Senate approval.

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In 2019 we saw the county tell BLM how many wild horses to remove, and which of the handful of wild horses could be returned, at Fish Creek. This was enabled in large part through backdoor deals, many of which actually involved “advocate” groups.

Since 2015 corporate orgs have been dividing up the “wild horse.” Multimillion dollar interests got together and worked out what they could sell to their supporters and media as a “ground breaking deal.” The only thing the deal did was break a hole so the wild horse program could fall right through it.

BLM does not create management plans for wild horses, they assert they do. (learn more here and take action to slow down the agenda set in motion through betrayal.) The “deal makers” sold any actual fix in “on range management” down the river for a slice of the pie, and gave the range away to livestock, opening the door for the beginning of the largest removals of wild horses in history, sterilization and more without one fix in management.

Were you given any open opportunity to address changes to wild horse management? Did BLM do scoping meetings all over the West? No. There were closed meetings, invitation only meetings where the guest lists included only those willing to play poker and the ears of Congressmen tweaked by paid lobbyists.

This “unholy alliance” also empowered moves like the unofficial reforms that have already happened and the broad scale giveaway this scoping period officially begins.


Just one example of an area of water haul for cattle and devastated landscape. An area BLM stated the 23 wild horses in the area of the canyon were “overpopulated.”

Because of the lack of management planning BLM does for wild horses advocates are usually left with trying to have their voices heard on a roundup EA (one of the few NEPA documents BLM creates for wild horses) about things like resource preservation and the number of cattle, fencing projects and illegal use of grazing land by livestock (trespass), only to be told their comment is “not relevant.” This scoping period on livestock? This is where your comment is relevant on those matters and, if BLM fails to analyze them appropriately, so is litigation. Do you feel that the fiscal and environmental burden of the current system, and any of the proposed reforms, is overly burdensome? This is an appropriate place to craft a responsive letter.


Map of private profit grazing privilege on BLM public lands. The green represents fences, not grass. You have to blow up the map to see the strangulation of public lands.

Those of you that like to do a bit of research? Compare to the PEER interactive map on health standards met by public lands grazing. (more here)


Many of our readers like to prepare their own comments and read all of the documents. You can find them HERE.

We will publish and example of a comment letter and create one you can send to BLM on this scoping period. We will also add another fast action letter to YOUR legislators addressing this maneuver by todays BLM (run by Pendley) and comparing it to what BLM is trying to push through the backdoor in their report to Congress (an action to stop the current agenda).

More coming soon. 



Categories: Wild Horse Education