Last month ranchers filed suit to force BLM to remove wild horses at Stone Cabin before the Interior Board of Land Appeals could rule on our filing. So to stop BLM from making (yet one more) settlement with livestock permittees, we have filed our own lawsuit.
Press Release: Organization Files Suit to Stop Removal of Historic Herd
(RENO: November, 2023) Wild Horse Education filed in Federal District court today to stop the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) from continuing to skirt their responsibility to manage the historic Stone Cabin/Saulsbury wild horses. The BLM managed herd is located a short distance from Tonopah and mingle with the Monitor Wild Horse Territory managed by the United States Forest Service (USFS).
“For far too long BLM has ignored all of the data-collection, studies and range improvements for wild horses they approved in the 1983 management plan,” stated Laura Leigh, President of Wild Horse Education. “Instead, the agency simply continues to fragment habitat designated for use by wild horses to favor private profit pockets while the horses and habitat continue to suffer. BLM cannot be allowed to continue to make excuses in perpetuity.”
In April, BLM approved a ten-year Gather Environmental Assessment (EA) that continues to ignore a Herd Management Area plan (HMAP) approved by the agency in 1983. The HMAP includes studies on identifying maters such as: which wild horses are under the jurisdiction of USFS and which are BLM as there is significant seasonal movement, water improvements for wild horses to distribute populations and the validity of forage allocations to preserve the herds. The current stocking number for wild horses (Appropriate Management Level or AML) was set as a temporary number in response to litigation and political pressure from livestock. In addition, BLM has never provided any data that demonstrates any removal of wild horses in the area has ever helped achieve an improvement in ecological balance and removals of wild horses have tended to coincide with expanding livestock ranges through water improvements for livestock or expanding extraction and oil and gas sale leases.
“We are excited to take on this challenge,” stated Jessica Blome of Greenfire Law, PC, “Wild horse management is often lacking and relies on removals where the agency, far too often, fails on follow through of responsibilities to collect and disclose data. In this instance, it appears BLM committed to a management plan and simply refused to comply with it.”
In May, WHE filed an Appeal with the Interior Board of Land Appeals (IBLA) that went without adjudication. Last week WHE dropped that Appeal and filed in Federal District court due to a filing last month by livestock permittees to force BLM to remove wild horses.
“I have seen time and again where BLM ignores efforts by wild horse advocates to gain any actual management plan for the herd and fix historic deficits. Instead, they will often jump into a settlement with a permittee without hesitation.” Leigh continued, “Advocacy has been waiting 40 years for BLM to follow through on the promises made in 1983. This historic herd has been neglected by BLM far too long and must be managed, not just removed.”
“This is an important case,” stated Danielle Holt of De Castroverde Law Group. “I am honored to be representing these issues surrounding such a significant and historic herd in this state.”
Stone Cabin/Saulsbury was the site of the first official roundup after the passage of the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act. Velma Johnston (Wild Horse Annie), a Nevada native whose advocacy drove the creation of protection laws for wild horses and burros in the United States, was in attendance to oversee capture. She often wrote that the “Stone Cabin Grey” was one of her favorite wild horses. What has become the BLM Adoption program was begun at Stone Cabin.
Learn more about the first roundup under the Act and the first lawsuit at Stone Cabin HERE.
“Giving Tuesday” has begun for WHE. All contributions up to $10,000. will be matched dollar-for-dollar through the end of November.
Thank you for keeping us in the fight to protect and preserve our wild ones.
There are many ways to support the work of WHE from direct contribution, stock donations and even while you shop. More HERE.