BLM has announced a national hearing on the use of motorized vehicles in the wild horse and burro program. Often the public uses the label “helicopter hearing” for these annual events. Usually, BLM does a state-by-state hearing. BLM is required to hold these hearings after motorized vehicle use was reinstated under law. 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, 1976). FLPMA reinstated the use of aircraft.
Pioneers in advocacy felt these hearings would create a review, a real hearing, on issues resulting in the use of motorized vehicles (trucks, helicopters, etc.). In practice the agency considers them simply administrative, a box to check, and shoves public concerns aside. In fact, the agency has not created any protocol on how to utilize hearings to address concerns and simply stamps comments and, according to a BLM state lead, “shoves them in a drawer.”
If the law requires a hearing, it requires it for a reason. There was expectation that there would be issues. The hearing was intended to address them. We encourage you to add your expectation that BLM actually address concerns raised at the hearing to any comment you submit.
This “hearing” appears to be a new protocol the agency is conducting to save time; simply doing one hearing and not having each state run one. We have not received any updated policy guideline on how the agency will utilize the issues raised at the hearing.
State hearings generally have no presentation by the agency and are just an “open mic” for the public to express themselves.
Information on how you can participate below in the BLM press release:
BLM schedules public hearing on use of motorized vehicles for wild horse and burro management
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Bureau of Land Management will conduct a virtual public hearing regarding the use of motorized vehicles and aircraft in the management of wild horses and burros. The hearing is scheduled for April 26, 2022 from 3 to 5 p.m. MT and will be held using Zoom video conferencing technology and live-streamed at BLM.gov/live.
The Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 requires BLM conduct an annual hearing to consider the use of motorized vehicles in the management of wild horses and burros. The BLM typically uses motorized vehicles to conduct gather operations, complete population surveys, and transport animals to/from corrals, pastures, and adoption, sale and transfer events.
To provide comment during the virtual public hearing, members of the public may register in advance by April 25. Written comments may also be sent to BLM_HQ_MotorizedVehicleHearing@blm.gov. Please include ‘‘Motorized Vehicle Comment’’ in the subject line of the email. Comments must be submitted by 5 p.m. Mountain Time on April 26.
For additional information regarding the public hearing, please contact the Wild Horse and Burro National Information Center at 866-468-7826 or email@example.com. Individuals who use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) may call the Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS) at 711 to reach the National Information Center during normal business hours.
The BLM manages and protects wild horses and burros across 26.9 million acres of public lands in 10 Western states. More information on the BLM’s Wild Horse and Burro Program can be found at BLM.gov/whb.
In addition to participating in the hearing you can support legislation to halt helicopter captures, study the methods and look for another option HERE.
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Categories: Wild Horse Education