If the process of crafting and passing the Appropriations bill is confusing, this is a good resource. A brief guide to the Federal Appropriations (spending bill) process from the American Council on Education: https://www.acenet.edu/Policy-Advocacy/Pages/Budget-Appropriations/Brief-Guide-to-Budget-Appropriations.aspx
Sample letter to send to your legislators in response to you (and to use as an outline if you schedule an appointment). Note: Our draft does not ask for funding for population growth suppression (roundups and the various forms of fertility control from spaying to vaccines); we never ask for that, BLM is asking for that already. We felt (and still feel) that fertility control in any form would be misused and used without data-driven specific analysis to justify use in the first place, and that is what BLM has done. In fact, in areas where BLM has approved use of “fertility control” it is in a compounded format that includes mashing up everything (spaying to various vaccines) simply to run the same broken program a (slightly) new way.
You can edit this letter to reflect your personal desires and add anything you feel we missed in this rough draft:
To (insert House Representative or Senator name):
I am writing in regards to your response to my inquiry regarding the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Wild Horse and Burro program.
As the Appropriations bill is drafted, amended and comes to a vote, I would like to fully inform you of my position and the position of many of your constituents that reflects my own. The information will be helpful as your office fulfills your responsibilities to the taxpayer through the spending bill and any other bill that may arise.
BLM has been using the steady rise in funding simply to perpetuate the exact methodology that caused the program to remain fiscally unsound and irresponsible to the public resource (wild horses and burros).
Before any additional funding is allotted, the current budget should frozen (held to the current level) until the agency demonstrates that they have addressed the infrastructure and fulfilled planning responsibilities that they continue to neglect.
- BLM should be reporting to Congress and the public on the number of actual management plans they create.
- The last time BLM released any update on the lagging Herd Management Area Plan (HMAP) creation process was in September 1996; where the few existing plans were documents stating that more data needed to be collected to create a plan. This lack of actual management planning has been replaced by removal plans and is an outrage that needs to be corrected.
- Every year BLM uses Herd Management Area Planning as a line item in their budget request and fails to address this foundational document. Instead, the agency removes wild horses and burros without actual management planning.
- We need an online portal that gives full transparency.
- BLM needs to post facility intake, inventory and vet reports.
- BLM needs to make public all independent contracts, agreements, Memorandum of Understanding.
- BLM does not disclose rangeland health data, inventory flight data, data on migratory routes or critical habitat for wild horses and burros. BLM needs to disclose that information in any removal plan and on their website.
- BLM needs to revise the animal welfare policy.
- Since adopting a policy in 2016, BLM simply began insufficient reporting in 2021.
- Infractions during roundups have become routine and disease is far too common in BLM facilities.
- There are alternatives to warehousing of captive wild horses and burros.
- BLM has the authority to repatriate territory designated for use by wild horses and burros but has chosen not to manage wild horses or burros in these areas. Originally there were 303 areas designated for horse and burros use, BLM has shrunk that area to 177 (of which 120 have a designated population level of less than 100).
- Current set population levels do not represent a fair share of the resources. On over 17 million acres, 120 herds have population levels set at less than 100. On 8 million acres, only 14 herds have a population level set at over 200. The national set population level is less than 26,000 wild horses nationwide compared to millions of cattle and sheep on the same acreage.
- BLM must look at repatriating areas they call Herd Areas (HA) that represent over 10 million acres.
- BLM should not be given taxpayer funding to support privately contracted facilities that do not have regular public visiting hours each month.
- Immediately suspend the Adoption Incentive Program (AIP).
- The program has cost the taxpayer nearly 5 million dollars and provides no oversight to ensure the cash incentive is not incentive to get a title and then sell to slaughter.
- Require that BLM commission an updated evaluation by the National Academy of Sciences prior to any increase in funding. There must be an evaluation before the agency receives more funding.
- Since 2019 BLM has been receiving a steady increase in funding without any evaluation if how they are using taxpayer funding.
- The last NAS review was in 2013 and the BLM has not addressed key flaws found in that report.
In order to obtain an increase in funding in 2020, BLM had agreed to craft a quarterly progress report to Congress on the work they were doing to reform the unsound system. Instead, BLM has simply requested more funding as they ran the identical methods (simply by relabeling them) further toward collapse.
Once more, the agency is requesting more funding blaming the situation on things like “inflation.” Inflation is not the issue. The unsound and dogmatic program that refuses to reform is the issue.
Please freeze the budget and force the BLM to stop operating using the archaic method they refuse to change. Only by putting on the brakes on can we ever hope to push BLM to reform the core deficits in on range planning, stop stockpiling wild horses into an infrastructure that is compromised and causing increasing outbreaks of disease and begin to create the transparency the American public deserves.
You can add a request for an appointment to your letter.