On May 8 the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) released an overdue report that had been demanded by Congress prior to release of additional funding ($21 million) allotted in the 2020 fiscal year Appropriations bill.
The report can be found here: https://wildhorseeducation.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/Report.pdf
You can take action against the plan that will collapse the program here: https://wildhorseeducation.org/2020/05/18/blm-skirts-management-failures-asks-congress-to-accelerate-program-collapse-action-item/
Our initial response, and links to both reports, can be found here: https://wildhorseeducation.org/2020/05/12/blm-report-is-out-national-embarrassment/
However, to fully comprehend the “report” you need a bit of context. We urge you to scroll through the partial list of “need to know” prior to taking any action. We are breaking down the new report and working on our rebuttal (as we did last time).
Our official public “action item” will be out soon and provided to you, in a step-by-step article early next week.
The report/plan is not a final document stating what BLM will do; it states what BLM wants to do. Congress has not approved the plan presented and it now undergoes a scrutiny process. Congress rejected BLM’s last “report.”
You can use the reading list below to dive into the history and context of this new report.
The origin of the report does not lie in any effort to create a comprehensive, scientific, data rich, report to Congress.
The origin of the this “report” lies in a 2017 summit held in Utah by pro-slaughter factions. TheSummit of the Wild Horse was an invitation only event that omitted anyone from any advocacy organization. An anti-wild horse/pro-slaughter cadre created a sideshow filled with junk science (like this doozy presented by Callie Hendricksen, Farm Bureau, to Congress in 2016). However, this private event was attended by BLM by the State Director of Nevada, John Ruhs (former), to give it a pretense of being an official meeting and not a private event.
What many people did not know was that behind the scenes so-called “wild horse advocates” had been working with this faction since 2015 (often actively sabotaging the work of other advocates). (more here)
The resulting document from the corporate coalition was called “Ten Years to AML.”
In 2018 the “Ten Years to AML” was incorporated into the “BLM Report to Congress.” John Ruhs had been promoted to Deputy Director and was the first official to carry the will of corporate America, essentially a lobby effort on their behalf, utilizing the “wish list” as the data base for policy change. (more on John Ruhs HERE)
The advocate orgs denied involvement in their public relations, even though they were mentioned by name.
Congress rejected BLM’s report for any consideration as a basis for a funding request for the 2019 budget. Congress requested a new report (more HERE).
Brian Steed, the Chief of Staff for Chris Stewart (R-UT), stood up from his chair and sat down in the Deputy Director seat at BLM when Ruhs was abruptly transferred after a disastrous hearing on National Monuments. Ruhs was to testify to Congress on National Monuments, but had not bothered “read or see” the report (you can watch it here).
In 2019 debates for fiscal 2020 funding, with his Chief of Staff now firmly in place as the Deputy Director of BLM, Stewart tries again to push the Ten Years to AML document, now renamed “Path Forward” to make an attempt to avoid the bad press associated with the first name and to try to grab some credibility off the National Academy of Sciences report that was named “A Way Forward.” (HERE)
The organizations involved launched a massive public relations campaign. Their involvement since 2015 no longer denied. Other organizations turned the fight into “a percentage of the budget must be used on PZP” and failed to fight any of the deeper provisions in the 2020 debate. From our involvement on the backside we can tell you much of this is a coordinated effort, each one gets a slice. They did their very best to run over anyone that could challenge them. Corporation mindset in deal making rules this debate; politics over the reality of the wild horses.
In June 2019 BLM did another “summit,” this time in Reno, that was invitation only. Wild Horse Education, our members and board, were not invited and, we were informed, would not be let in if we arrived at the meeting. WHE is a NV nonprofit with a long record as a stakeholder, litigant, and even as a partner on select projects. Yet WHE would not be permitted any form of participation, even though organizations representing “avocacy” flew in from all over the country with invitations.
In 2019 BLM installed William Perry Pendley as Deputy Director with the Authority of Director. The document passed from Ruhs, to Steed, and now Pendley was the “closer.” All of these men have deep relationship with members of the corporate coalition. Just scroll the list on the “members page” and it reads like a “who is who” list of former lobbyists with relationship to Steed and Ruhs and a former client list of Pendley (HERE).
The 2020 Appropriations bill awarded an additional $21 million dollars to the BLM Wild Horse and Burro program. However, the BLM had to release a “detailed and justified plan” in the form of a report to Congress.
May 2020 we sit less than 60 days from the start of the summer/fall roundup schedule. BLM blew the budget on a 1700 wild horse removal at the Eagle Complex (powerful permittee and a water war that had ties to the Southern Nevada Water Authority Pipeline project). BLM needs the $21 million to pay contractors and get the next round of roundups, that include sterilization, moving). BLM has money to do a few smaller (under 500) roundups. BLM does not have the funding to hit the big ones in the summer/fall schedule that it wants to hit.
On May 8 BLM released a report. The report is almost a year late. But BLM did not post it in the Federal Register or send to a mailing list, BLM only released the report through backdoor channels to those involved in any “summit” activity.
WHE contacted BLM each month since the due date on the report came and went. WHE were told we were on the mailing list and would be given the report and the time to rebut the report.
When we contacted BLM on May 12 the response was “the report has not been released yet.” We told them it had.
On May 12 WHE saw the report the website of the nonprofits involved in summit activity and their coordinated public relations. In 15 minutes we slammed out a complaint to BLM and a press release.
One of the big problems that the “united corporate coalition” had with their public relations campaign at the beginning of the year was that each “camp” had polarized supporters; pro-slaughter was mad that corporate advocates were involved, those that support corporate advocates tag lines were mad that pro-slaughter was involved. This time they are not doing united campaigning. The corporate advocates are now “aghast” at the numbers and proslaughter has to crow because that is the base they play to. The old number 15-20K a year, would be BLM stretched as far as they can go. The new number, up to 30K, would not only decimate all existing populations, but would overtax the BLM roundup machine and it will be chaos.
What corporate advocacy is after, is what they were always after, contracts for PZP sales and implementation. Even now, many just want you to call Congress and push the “PZP dart.” Since day one they never fought for actual management planning, just that it include some taxpayer money for them. That’s political poker, not advocacy.
Our wild horses and burros need your voice. They need voices willing to fight this entire mess or they will pay dearly.
Tuesday, July 7, is the 60 mark of the release of the “new” report, through the backdoor channel it was birthed in, on May 8. July 12 is the 60 mark if you count from the date the orgs involved in the summit released it. Those are the dates funding could be released to BLM from the 2020 Appropriations if Congress approves the report/plan.
BLM has yet to do a public release of this report.
A really good article to see how the summit docs, and “Ten Years to AML/Path Forward” form the basis for the last report to Congress: https://wildhorseeducation.org/2019/04/28/blm-report-10-years-to-aml-part-two/
Not much has changed between the last report and the new report. We do urge you to put them side-by-side. The number to remove has been padded from 15-20K to 20-30K each year. Instead of vague terminology we do see sterilization spelled out (BLM has already finalized plans to sterilize groups at Twin Peaks).
We are working on our rebuttal. We will have yours ready for you soon.
We are up against a very well funded machine. Can you help us continue to fight back?
Categories: Wild Horse Education