Wild Horse Education has sent a “Packet for Reform” off to newly-confirmed Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Director Tracy Stone-Manning.
Stone-Manning served as associate vice president for public lands at the National Wildlife Federation. From 2013 to 2021 she was chief of staff for Steve Bullock (D-Montana). In 2020, Bullock sued for the removal of then-Acting BLM Director William Pendley, who held the position for over a year without congressional confirmation and who, federal judges ruled, was installed in the position illegally.
The agency is now following the “2020 plan” that was laid out by Pendley and his predecessors including Brian Steed. Steed served as chief of staff for Chris Stewart (R-Ut) as the center point for the “Path Forward” prior to taking his job as Deputy Director with acting authority of the Director of BLM prior to Pendley. The current agenda moves forward actions Pendley filed in court, but lost, for clients on his 17-page recusal list, before taking his seat at BLM.
With the power of authorities given to her as BLM Director, Stone-Manning holds the power to begin real reform of the agency.
Stone-Manning has the authority to stop the acceleration of oil and gas leasing on public lands, fix the massive problem of overgrazing by domestic livestock and failures to address rangeland health and even monitoring and reporting failures. She can also begin real reform of the Wild Horse and Burro program and begin to steer the program into real management planning, based on science and public involvement and not backdoor deals to suit politics.
Our packet does not just include a “wish list” of items. The packet includes the framework in which her authorities can immediately begin to move toward the objective of real reform. No new change in law is actually needed to start reform. What we need is responsible action to protect the public interest.
The BLM Wild Horse and Burro program operates as two distinct programs: on-range and off-range.
Stone-Manning can immediately address the lack of management planning the current “gather Environmental Assessments, EAs” are based on. Just as PEER outlines flaws in land use planning, wild horses and burros have serious deficits in NEPA including the omission of the Herd Management Area Plan (HMAP) process. NEPA, National Environmental Policy Act process, is being shortchanged for wild horses and burros and leaving the public out of actual public lands management.
She can immediately suspend the Adoption Incentive Program (AIP) that has landed so many younger, healthy wild horses in the slaughter pipeline.
She can immediately address the “off-limits-to-public-view” games at roundups, holding facilities and the lack of access to critical documents the public needs to fully advocate for our interest.
Stone-Manning has the authority to order an immediate review of the Comprehensive Animal Welfare Policy (CAWP). After years of litigation that led to the creation of the policy and an agreement for review and expansion, the review is 5 years late.
We have asked for a meeting as a follow-up to the packet we sent in the mail. Increasing immunocontraception, like at the ongoing roundup at Owyhee, is not reform. The public does not want a “band-aide” to suit industry. We want responsible and tangible change to the program that runs to suit industry. Continuing the “2020 Plan” is continuing the directives of William Perry Pendley. The public and the public resource, wild horses and burros, deserve more.
There are matters still at play in the courts, including our filing against the plan for the Confusion HMA. The current administration has decided that “spaying via colpotomy” is off the table. However, the rest of the EA and everything contained within still stands. So does our fight against it. We have not dropped our case. Stone-Manning has the power to address the underlying issues through a simple directive, without further litigation. We hope she reviews these matters carefully as the public interest deserves her attention.
Our years of experience on the ground, changing policy through litigation, can provide Stone-Manning with a valuable resource, if she chooses to tap that resource.
If you would like to add your name to our request, that Stone-Manning meet with the WHE team, you can add your name below.
Our teams are hard at work to continue to change policy and bring long overdue reform to the BLM Wild Horse and Burro Program.
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