Wild Horse Education

Motorized Vehicle Hearing Sample Comments and More Info (by request)

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Triple B in NV, 2018

Many of you have expressed real frustration at the short notice given by BLM NV for the annual “motorized vehicle” hearing. 72 hours notice? All you have to do is use any internet search engine to look at the notification period of the past; 2017 Ely notified the public on June 16 for a June 27 meeting, 2016 Southern NV notified the public on June 13 for a June 25 meeting, and so on. In 2020 Battle Mountain gives a notice on June 22 for a June 25 hearing?!(If you use that search engine you will also find other states routinely give two to three weeks notice.)

Your frustration is valid. WHE sent a complaint immediately after receiving notification. Many of you expressed complaints after we published the notification. BLM has extended the written comment period until July 2.

But what if you have questions for BLM staff? At this time BLM has not rescheduled the hearing or offered any remote participation options. Can you imagine the uproar if this were a required hearing for the livestock permitting process?

Before helicopters or motorized vehicles can be used, a public hearing is required in order to comply with Section 404 of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA).

In 1976 the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act was modified by the passage of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA). The modification added a “new” section 9 to the Act. This new section allowed for the use of helicopters and motor vehicles in rounding up and transporting captured animals, but BLM has to hold the annual hearing and address deficits and concerns.

These annual hearings are held on a state-by-state basis to narrow concerns and deficits so they can be addressed. BLM considers these hearings “purely administrative.” In other words, BLM is just checking a box. Like most things “wild horse” BLM ignores significance and routinely skirts responsibility to the public and the public resource.

These hearings are an annual review state-by-state.

These hearings are associated with each Environmental Assessment (EA) BLM will clear, during the year covered by the hearing, to be added to the gather schedule. These hearings “check that legal box” and are part of the underlying structure of “the boxes of NEPA.” 

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Wild Horse Education is the only organization in history to ever litigate abuse during roundups. We were not only able to kick addressing issues involving abuse into high gear to gain a policy (often simply referenced as CAWP), we toggled litigation back and forth between abuses and the First Amendment and beat what is called the “mootness” doctrine back in 2012 (when a roundup ends, BLM argues the issue ends and can not be litigated. They can not do that anymore). Over the last few years our legal teams have been taking steps to build a framework to move the way we need to deal with abuse in court (site-by-site) to a much broader venue.

These annual hearings are part of that framework. The hearing this year, particularly in NV, is important. The following can help you to understand “why.”

The first CAWP metrics were being built at Fish Creek in Feb 2015 and became part of roundup contracts in Oct 2015. For a very short time there was progress on both access issues and handling during capture (the focal points of our relentless litigation). Over the last few years both of those critical aspects, of any action by a federal agency, have rapidly slid backwards. Both handling, and access to witness the actions paid for by tax payer dollars, has become a serious problem. These issues are particularly bad in the state of Nevada.

This hearing matters. However, BLM NV feels it is appropriate to only give 72 hours notice? This notification is a clear indication of the importance BLM NV places on both abusive practices and the public interest.

Warning: video below may be disturbing to many, mare run as she aborts or just gave birth. 

We will be crafting extensive comments that note a number of actions we have taken that include our litigation, and the complaints and other steps we have taken since.

You can help. 

Our creating a petition, or sign-on letter, is not an effective or appropriate tool for this hearing. Our extensive comments will lay the foundation we need to move our work forward.

You can play a role and help us. Craft a letter in your own words and send it in. Use the bullet points below as a starting point and then let BLM know exactly how you think and feel, in your own words:

I am an American tax-payer and therefore a stakeholder of public lands resources. I have a deep and abiding interest in the way our wild horses and burros are managed and treated by the federal government.

  • I have seen horrific deficits in the handling of wild horses and burros that is deeply disturbing to me. These deficits often involve the use of motorized vehicles during and after capture (babies run to collapse in summer heat, wild horses run through barbed wire, wild horses run into an extreme lather in winter, a mare run as she aborted, overcrowded temporary corrals and stock trailers and more).
  • BLM NV has faced litigation against abusive practices and failed to defend their actions successfully in court every single time a case went before a federal judge. 
  • BLM created a humane policy but has failed to revise, review and enforce that policy.
  • BLM NV has demonstrated multiple times that hiding these abuses is more important than enforcing, reprimanding, revising, appropriately training employees and contractors.
  • Nye County in Nevada unanimously passed a resolution that states they do “not support the BLM’s present Helicopter method of rounding-up our Wild Horses and Burros any longer within the borders of Nye County, Nevada.” 

As a tax-payer I demand BLM NV create and publish a review of all practices involving motorized vehicles prior to any use of such in the state. The review must include any and all roundups that have occurred in this state since the introduction of the CAWP policy. BLM must publish the report on the website for public scrutiny. 

Any process in the state of NV that involves motorized vehicles must be conducted with full and complete public transparency including: any capture that involves the use of any motorized vehicle.

BLM NV has failed the public trust.

The short notice on this hearing inhibited my participation. I expect a written response from BLM to my comments. 

Sincerely,

your name and contact info. 

from BLM: written comments must be mailed to the BLM Battle Mountain District Office, attention: Jess Harvey, 50 Bastian Rd, Battle Mountain, NV 89820 and must be received by close of business on July 2, 2020, to be considered.

Please note: BLM is not even offering an email address. We suggest you send your comments certified mail and postmark them no later than June 29. 

We would love to see what you write! Send your comments to us at: Laura@WildHorseEducation.org We might contact you, use your letter, as we move this issue back into the courts if BLM does not take appropriate action.

You can also help support our field teams and legal work. We really are up against a very big machine and our work is not possible without your support. 

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Categories: Wild Horse Education