Wild Horse Education

Triple B Needs You (Another Mine Expansion)

Many of you are familiar with the beautiful horses of the Triple B Complex in NV.

What many of you may not be familiar with is that this area has been undergoing rapid expansion of mining, green energy transmission lines and more.

The Triple B Complex was lumped in with the Antelope Complex creating the largest single Gather Plan (Environmental Assessment or EA) in the country. This single EA covers wild horse territory larger than the states of Rhode Island and Connecticut combined. BLM says that a total of only 1003 wild horses can live in the entire area covered under the EA.

If BLM had analyzed “what the land could sustain” when the 1971 Act was passed, the horses in the area of mining expansion would not be “overpopulated.” BLM has repeatedly used politics, not science, to determine a carrying capacity.

Just the Triple B HMA in the Complex covers 1,232,494 acres. BLM says only 250-518 wild horses can live in this vast space. This amounts to about 1 horse on every 2,700 acres of territory originally intended to be managed principally, but not exclusively, for wild horses.

The territory under this EA is so big, BLM segments roundups and even ran 2 simultaneous roundup crews on the Antelope Complex section this year. Some of the most horrific roundups of the last decade have occurred in this area. Just shy of 10,000 wild horses have beeb removed under this one roundup plan since 2017.

Habitat loss and fragmentation is the driver behind all roundups and this area is no exception. Of course there is intense livestock use, but there is also intense extraction. Extractive industries use massive amounts of water, increase fast moving traffic on roads, add additional barbed wire fencing and remove vast territory for use by wild horses. When we are talking mining, we are talking hundreds and thousands of gallons per minute. A single mine uses as much water in 1 minute than an entire herd of wild horses uses in a day.

Triple B is facing an expansion of the Bald Mountain Mine (Juniper Project). This mine already creates intense impact to the HMA. On top of the mine expansion, BLM has already approved a massive project to increase fencing and water availability to the livestock permittee. The mine is also applying for a “take” of Golden Eagles.

Dead Golden Eagle near mining road, looks like ot was hit by a truck

From the EA: “Most of the extended NOA Plan boundary is within the Triple B Herd Management Area.” 

BLM seems to apologize to the mine that wild horses are in the way of road and leach pit construction: “Wild horse gathers conducted by the BLM have reduced the wild horse population in this area but the population is still estimated to be double the appropriate management level established by the BLM to maintain a thriving ecological balance.”

You can see how much territory the mine expansion will remove from Triple B HMA. The traffic from the existing mine is already intense. The ground water is already at risk of contamination and the mine already uses nearly 1000 gallons of water per minute. Remember, this is not the only project in this area and livestock use is heavy (but they already approved projects to benefit livestock).

One section on water contamination: “KG-BM (the mine) would continue to use fencing and other exclusion measures to prevent ingestion of diluted cyanide solution or entrapment of wildlife, which would also be effective for wild horses.”

BLM does NOT track the number of collisions, but they are increasing each year: “To reduce risk of wild horse-mine vehicle collisions, KG-BM employs ACEPM no. 143 that marks new fencing and installs road signs for safety of wild horses under situations where there is heavy or sustained traffic. Risk of wild horse-vehicle collisions would continue for an additional 11 years under the action alternatives.”

Final assertion: “Overall, potential impacts on wild horses are anticipated to be minor, long term to permanent, and localized.”

Siblings: Last years colt that escaped the roundup with family and this years new baby.

The BLM has scheduled a public meeting for the mine expansion Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) that is now open for public comment through October 5.

The BLM will hold two public meetings, one in-person and one virtual, to provide information and answer questions about the draft EIS:

In-Person Public Meeting

    • Date:   September 19, 2023
    • Location: Ely District BLM Office Conference Room, 702 North Industrial Way, Ely, Nevada 89301
    •  Time: 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm Pacific Daylight Time
    •      Virtual Public Meeting
    • Date:   September 21, 2023
    • Registration:

o   Pre-register online via the following link: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_cC51UwtgStKlI2tgm7BJJg. No fee is required.

o   After completing registration, you will receive an email prior to the event with instructions for joining the Zoom Webinar.

    • Time:   5:00 pm to 7:00 pm Pacific Daylight Time

If you are interested in learning more about the mine and want to prepare to speak for our wild horses, take the time to sign up for a meeting.

You can read the draft EIS HERE and begin to draft your comments.

After the meeting, WHE will publish a sample comment.

This area is one of the very last in theU.S. that could still support a large herd… but time is running out.

Note: Wild horses managed under the massive roundup plan are the subject of litigation filed by WHE this summer after the brutal roundup at the Antelope Complex. Not only is BLM getting horses out of the way of livestock and mining, they are doing so without any real care for the welfare of those wild horses.

The EA allows them to continue to go to both Antelope and Triple B through the end of 2026 and continue to remove wild horses. They go out to roundup this area every single year. WHE is fighting back.

Our wild ones should live free on the range with the families they hold dear. Our wild ones should also live without abuse. WHE carries ongoing litigation to force BLM into open public process to create an enforceable welfare standard for our treasured wild ones. 

Thank you for keeping us in the fight!


2023 Summer roundup reports


Antelope Complex (north and south)

Black Mountain, Hardtrigger, Sands Basin

Devils Garden (USFS)

Categories: Wild Horse Education