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Today the Interior Board of Land Appeals (IBLA) has deferred all deadlines for legal briefs 60 days due to COVID-19. The IBLA usually requires all correspondence and briefs to be mailed separately to all parties. The IBLA will now communicate electronically.
The extension of all filing deadlines is appreciated as al of America focuses primarily on the safety of their loved ones. Allowing electronic communication lifts the burden of travel to and from postal services during “shelter in place.” WHE appreciates the understanding of the IBLA at this critical time. Yet, this is not enough. We need pending, and proposed land use actions suspended.
Text of IBLA notice below:
ALL APPEALS PENDING BEFORE THE
INTERIOR BOARD OF LAND APPEALS
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Board hereby orders as follows:
As of the date of this Order, all filing deadlines established by regulation or
by Board Order are extended for 60 days. For example, if a statement of
reasons is due on March 24, 2020, then the extended deadline is May 25,
Also in response to COVID-19, until further notice, all parties practicing
before the Board may file any and all pleadings by email
(firstname.lastname@example.org) when those pleadings become due. Filings should not
exceed 20 MB per email.
The Board may issue additional orders addressing filing procedures and deadlines as
Additional activities that must be delayed, suspended and diverted (action item):
At this time the Department of Interior (DOI) is continuing to release new assessment documents for public comment only via regular mail. If you can not access a PO Box and live in a remote area, you can not participate as you will receive no notice. Access to staff and information has been impeded.
BLM has not made their report on the Wild Horse and Burro program public. The document is over 9 months late. Congress set aside an additional $21 million for the program. BLM is dragging it’s feet on releasing the report showing it is not taking Congressional oversight of spending seriously. Congress should suspend the release of the additional funding indefinitely.
We ask that you join us and send this letter to your representatives in the House and Senate.
You can use the letter below as a template and create your own. You can find your reps here: http://GovTrack.us
“I implore you, all new actions proposed by the Department of Interior (DOI) effecting our public lands must cease during this national emergency. Active land use revisions (RMP, LUP), changes to the Endangered Species Act (ESA), oil and gas sale leases and wild horse roundups; such activities require adequate public notice in accordance to the National Environmental Policy Act, and the public demands free access to information and staff in order to participate as is their right.
Many Americans are currently facing quarantine, both enforced and voluntary, and for the Interior Department to carry on in such a time is denying the public their due process. This is a time of a national emergency, and the Interior Department should suspend ongoing public comment periods, halt upcoming oil and gas lease sales, and delay new policy proposals during this time.
The Interior Board of Land Appeals has deferred all deadlines 60 days. The DOI needs to suspend all ongoing and new decision making processes at least 60 days.
I request that the additional funding pending release through Appropriations 2020 to the Bureau of Land Management Wild Horse and Burro program be suspended and reallocated. The 2020 Appropriations Bill awarded the BLM an additional $21 million dollars to ramp up roundups and begin aggressive fertility control pending a release of a report from the agency. The report is over 9 months late, demonstrating the agency is avoiding scrutiny and oversight. This funding could be put to far better use in the current national crisis.”
Wild Horse Education made a request to Congress and DOI. Please support our effort by sending your own letter.
New to wild horses? learn what you need to know in this two part series below.
If you need a break from the current news cycle you can take a “wild horse moment” in books or movies. Several content creators have released film shorts free to stream online. (click highlighted text)
Can you help us stay in this fight? Our work to protect and preserve our wild horses, and the land they stand, must continue in these chaotic times. We need your support to remain vigilant in our work.
Categories: Wild Horse Education