Action Alert: Comment on BLM’s Removal Plan for Youngsters from Cloud’s Herd

Information provided by The Cloud Foundation

The BLM is seeking your comments on their proposal to remove “up to 25” young horses from the range starting this year.

Cloud and Encore ~ Photo by Carol Walker of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Cloud and Encore – photo by Carol Walker of Wild Horse Freedom FederationBackground: The Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range (PMWHR is a spectacular wilderness but a high percentage of the 39,651 acres is rocky and unproductive for grazing. The herd now exceeds 160 adult horses. Without range expansion which TCF actively pursues, there must be some limited removals to ensure that the range continues to support the herd. There are no livestock on the range. The BLM is seeking your comments on their proposal to remove “up to 25” young horses from the range starting this year.

Because BLM’s email system is inadequate to accept large volumes of correspondence they request that you send a snail mail letter. Please formulate a polite letter in your own words. Here are some points to make:

  • Strongly Encourage BLM to adopt Alternative A, which calls for small, incremental removals as opposed to one large removal. Alternative A comes in response to suggestions made by responders to the Scoping document.
  • Ask that a time limit of three years be placed on these small removals, then assess whether further removals are needed based on the new PZP protocols as well as unpredictable limiting factors (i.e. weather/predation).
  • Remove no more than 6-10 young animals in any one year, so all the horses removed will have the opportunity to find good homes and the fragile genetics of this unique Spanish herd are not placed in jeopardy.
  • Do not eliminate the yearlings from the removal protocol. Yearlings are traditionally the most easily adopted, and adapt more readily to a domestic setting. Spreading the limited removals over mainly the yearling and two-year old quadrants will ensure that no unique animals will be removed and that the horses will be more likely to find homes and successfully adapt to a domestic life.
  • Remove as few three year-old as possible. Many three year-old fillies are settling in to life with their new bands and most three year-old males have become bachelor stallions, honing the skills they will need to one day win a mare. Because of this and their age, three year-olds typically require more time and expertise to gentle and train than most yearlings and two year-olds.
  • Do not remove any young horse that threatens the loss of a genetic line.
  • Do not remove any young horse that threatens the loss of a color. Encore is a low priority based on her sex and color. Mato Ska is the only blaze-faced roan that has ever been born on the Pryor Mountains to our knowledge. Palominos, Blue Roans and Buckskins are rare colors that must be preserved.
  • Please acknowledge that we appreciate being listened to!

Send your letter postmarked by June 6 to:
BLM Billings Field Office
Attn: Jared Bybee
5001 Southgate Drive
Billings, Mt. 49101-4669

For More Information call Jared Bybee: 406-896-5223
Environmental Assessment.
BLM Press Release
TCF Action Alert on Scoping Notice

Marjorie Farabee and Simone Netherlands warn of loss of wild burros on Black Mountain HMA in Arizona, on Wild Horse & Burro Radio (Wed., 5/6/15)

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Wild_Horse_Burro_Radio_LogoJoin us on Wild Horse Wednesday (*SM) , May 6, 2015

6:00 pm PST … 7:00 pm MST … 8:00 pm CST … 9:00 pm EST

Listen to the archived show (Here!)

You can also listen to the show on your phone by calling (917) 388-4520.

This is a 1 hour show.  Call in with questions during the 2nd half hour.  

Call in # (917) 388-4520 and then press 1 if you want to ask a question.

_____________________________________________

marjorieandabbywhff

Marjorie Farabee, Dir. of Wild Burro Affairs, Wild Horse Freedom Federation

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Simone Netherlands, founder of respect 4 horses

Our guests tonight are Marjorie Farabee, Director of Wild Burro Affairs for Wild Horse Freedom Federation. Marjorie is also the Equine Mgr. of Todd Mission Ranch (home of TMR Rescue) and founder of Wild Burro Protection Leagueand Simone Netherlands, Natural Horsemanship Trainer, founder of respect 4 horses Organization, and director & producer of the documentary “America’s Wild Horses.”  Both went to a recent BLM meeting in Arizona and are concerned with the BLM’s plans to remove wild burros from the Black Mountain HMA in Arizona.  (Wild burros in the United States are already dangerously near extinction.)  Learn all about the investigations by Marjorie and Simone tonight.

Tonight’s radio show will be hosted by Debbie Coffey, V.P. & Dir. of Wild Horse Affairs, Wild Horse Freedom Federation

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11th Hour for Arizona’s Wild Burros

OpEd by Marjorie Farabee ~Director of Wild Burro Affairs at Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Time is short; comments must be received by 5pm May 2, 2015 at BLM_AZ_KFOweb.@blm.gov or cbenson@blm.gov

The burros have never had it easy with our government agencies. The fox is guarding the hen house when it comes to protections for this nation’s icons of our pioneering past. They are symbols of our culture and living natural icons of our pioneering history. Yet, our own governmental agency which is tasked with protecting our wild burros and horses, because of this important connection to our past, is cavalierly managing them to extinction without remorse.

photo by Marjorie Farabee of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

photo by Marjorie Farabee of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

The Black Mountain HMA is presently 1.1 million acres, but if developers of wind, gas, and agriculture have their way this HMA will soon be reduced and all the wildlife living on it will suffer. In the BLM count of 2013 the burro population came to just over 700 animals, yet they would have us believe that the population has grown to a whopping 1600-1800 burros in one short year and a half. This means even the jacks are having twins and they are all immortal.

Recently, Simone Netherlands, representing Respect4Horses (R4H), and myself, representing Wild Horse Freedom Federation (WHFF), joined up to attend both scoping meetings being held by the BLM in Kingman and Bullhead City, AZ.  The BLM’s presentation of damage caused by wild burros was lacking in scientific data or actual observation from reputable studies.  They simply showed a photo zeroed in on a small area that would have some plants which were grazed or damaged.  This was their “proof” that wild burros were damaging the desert.  When the HMA was set up in 1974 there were over 2000 burros living easily on this land. Now, the number allowed has been reduced to a mere 478 burros for this vast HMA. Meanwhile cattle are grazed with well over 5000 acknowledged as grazing on the land. At the scoping meetings held by the BLM at both Bullhead City and Kingman the public was told the entire HMA was degraded by burros. Of course, no cattle were mentioned as being detrimental. In fact, I had to pry an acknowledgement that cattle were even present on the HMA out of the BLM representative.  Roger Oyler then answered questions I had about the mapping.  He confirmed that the ruling in WY concerning wild horses on checkerboard land gave them the right to remove the checker boarded areas from the Black Mountain HMA.  He further explained the yellow area west of Kingman, called Golden Valley, will also be taken from the HMA. Neither he nor Chad Benson would give us the targeted number of burros in their sites for removal from the Black Mountain HMA.

At these meetings the public was not allowed to ask questions in an open forum.  We were asked to walk up to individual representatives of the BLM and ask our questions privately thus denying the attending public access to the concerns raised by the question, or the answers provided.  The public would have been saddened to learn that the BLM is planning to not only reduce the number of wild burros by an unspecified amount, they are planning to reduce the size of the HMA as well.  Another issue brought up was the burros crossing 95 in Bullhead City.  The area where they are crossing is still legally a part of the Black Mountain HA and provides direct access to the Colorado River which is an important water source for the burros and all other wildlife in the area. (That 10-mile strip is STILL legally designated (by 1971 Congress) for wild horses and burro. It is still HA (Herd Area) land. “Wild horses and burros are supposed to be treated as “components of the public lands”. 16 U.S.C. § 1333(a) The law is clear that “wild free-roaming horses and burros shall be protected from capture, branding, harassment, or death” and entitled to roam free on public lands where they were living at the time the Act was passed in 1971. 16 U.S.C. § 1331 These legally protected areas are known as “herd areas,” and are defined as “the geographic area identified as having been used by a herd as its habitat in 1971.” 43 C.F.R. § 4700.0-5(d).”  – Animal Law Coalition (available online) Rather than provide passage over or under the HWY they have decided to zero out the burros in the area.  These provisions could have been made when the roadways were under construction.  Now, resulting collisions with burros are providing an excuse for their removal from the area.  Moreover, “There is no authority for BLM’s “herd management areas” under WFRHBA. The BLM has authorized itself to divide herd areas into “herd management areas“, something not authorized by WFRHBA. 43 CFR 4710.3-1. In this way, with no statutory authority at all, BLM has limited wild horses and burros’ access to thousands of acres that were historically their herd areas. This is done without thought about the horses’ seasonal migration patterns or available resources. The BLM then removes wild horses and burros from the artificially created “herd management areas” on the basis there is insufficient forage, water or habitat! BLM also targets them for removal if they cross the artificial boundaries into their original herd areas.”- Animal Law Coalition (available online)

As we delve deeper into the reasons for the inflated new burro numbers and safety accusations toward the burros we are finding reports about wind development with several projects in the works and others moving through the approval process.  Other contributors are proposed agricultural development which along with wind development will further deplete already depleted water resources.  It is important to note, that the Black Mountain HMA boasts the largest population of bighorn sheep in the nation.  In fact, it is well documented that the hunting clubs have long wanted burros removed from habitat where bighorn sheep reside, citing resource conflicts as their reason for wanting them removed.  http://www.sierraclub.org/policy/wildlife/feral-animals

As we traveled hundreds of miles through the Black Mountain HMA exploring, what we saw was a beautiful desert full of life and forage. Burros were scarce, but friends in the area will continue to dig into the fitness of the range for me while WHFF continues its investigation into the real reason large sections of the HMA are about to be stripped away from these mountain canaries. What a lovely song I heard as I stayed during the night listening to the burros call each other through the mountains. Each voice was different and ethereal as the sound echoed through the mountain.  It was magical. It saddens me to know that their song may soon be quiet and never heard again if special interests get their way. My history and culture are worth fighting for, and these burros deserve to be considered as a part of these lands now and forever more. They earned it.

Thank you for helping the burros stay free!

Comments must be received by 5pm May 2, 2015 at BLM_AZ_KFOweb.@blm.gov or cbenson@blm.gov

For additional information you can contact:

Marjorie Farabee at 281-235-5288

and

Simone Netherlands at 928-308-6718

More on BLM new pick for the National Wild Horse & Burro Advisory Board

by Debbie Coffey, V.P. & Dir. of Wild Horse Affairs, Wild Horse Freedom Federation.

Copyright 2015.  All Rights Reserved.

The BLM recently announced its new selections for the BLM National Wild Horse & Burro Advisory Board.

BLM’s new pick for the category of veterinary medicine is:

Julie M. Weikel, DVM

38b65a5d-8fb5-4740-8758-4169c0a1a6e6  Julie Weikel (photo Oregon Natural Desert Association)

As written about in the article “Part 2:  BLM and Fish & Wildlife Service Experimenting on Wild Horses”, Julie Weikel was asked by the Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge Manager (Brian Day) to write an independent assessment of the roundups of the Sheldon horses in August, 2011.  She observed only one day of the roundups on Aug. 15th, but also observed processing (RFID chips were inserted into the horses), the field spaying of mares and the field castration of geldings.

It is interesting that she wrote in her roundup observation “Provision had been made for witnessing of the gather by credentialed reporters.  They were to be with me in a site designated for observers that would be safe and not interfere with the horses or equipment.  No reporters took advantage of the opportunity, but four local people were present who apparently had gotten permission form the helicopter gather contractor to be at the site.  They did not stay in the designated area during the gather and they left before the end of the gather that day.”

What?  The contractor’s invited friends, who were not credentialed reporters and had an opportunity that members of the public did not have, did NOT stay in the designated area?  Why weren’t they arrested?  Members of the public are usually threatened with arrest if they do not stay in the designated area at roundups.  And since the BLM’s excuse for putting people in the designated area is to keep them safe and not interfere with the horses, why was it okay with the BLM and the roundup contractor that these “select” people and wild horses weren’t safe?

Of the chemical vasectomies, Weikel wrote “The studs also received a tetanus toxoid injection which led to an unfortunate loss of one stud to anaphylaxis in spite of supportive measures.”  

She also noted in her report that “Thirty two mares were spayed on Aug. 29th with no fatalities, and released on Aug. 31st.”  And “The spaying of mares was observed by professional management and veterinary personnel from the BLM Palomino Valley facility.”

Weikel did not mention any concerns about the wild mares being released so soon after surgery, or that there was no follow up after their release in case there were any post-surgery infections or complications.  And was the field spaying of mares observed by BLM’s John Neill and Palomino Valley (and Indian Lakes Road facility) vet Richard Sanford?

Weikel’s independent assessment (received from FOIA documents) can be read here:

https://app.box.com/s/ksgv2axzctxtge3ag50o

https://app.box.com/s/y6izc56axvv3ecuemo31

https://app.box.com/s/drkgk40yljl9jzcp0mit

https://app.box.com/s/za98fvkxtjxczz5nec9r

In fact, her report was very positive and supportive.  Weikel, who went to high school in Winemucca, NV,  was appointed to serve on the BLM’s Southeast Oregon Resource Advisory Council (RAC) around 2012.  Meeting minutes from April 2012 noted that Weikel was “getting oriented with how the RAC works” and the minutes from January 2013 noted “Weikel has been looking into the history of the Wild Horse and Burro Program and what is going on in the various Herd Management Areas. Weikel recently read a wonderful summary of professional statements about the wild horse and burro population issues called “Honest Horses,” put together by a writer in the Spokane, Washington area.” 

The book “Honest Horses” contains interviews with BLM roundup contractor Dave Cattoor, pro-horse slaughter (WH & B Advisory Board member) John Falen, BLM’s Tom Pogacnik (Wild Horse & Program Director in the late 90’s, who admitted that 90% of wild horses rounded up were going to slaughter), ex BLM Director Bob Abbey, Temple Grandin, and ex W H & B Advisory Board member Wayne Burkhardt, among others.

Lets hope Weikel has read some other books regarding wild horses and burros.

The Jan. 2014 minutes from the Southeast Oregon RAC state “Sterilized horses to reduce the number of heads. Each year would sterilize at a different age to control the number of heads. Each sterilized horse is branded.

The goal now is that all the horses will come off the mountain by next year • This is a very healthy horse population • In 2009, stopped surgical vasectomies because anesthesia risk. Used stronger drugs • Proposal- Spay 100 mares in Burns that go back to the range. Asking for 100 mares to avoid drastic statistics if a couple mares died. Can RAC be supportive of this proposal? Yes • Data on the chart (handout) is from Fish and Wildlife. It will be published at some point • How much does it cost to spay? $200/ head for top quality drugs for spaying mares. • $30/day mare for top quality drugs • Cons: o.   There are a few individuals with the skills to spay mares. We would need to head the trainings.  There will be a death loss. We don’t know what the long term survival rate after returning to the range. • Thriving ecological balances? Long and short term holdings are full. We have the funds to move forward, but we are waiting on Congress to allow us to hold more. • Consider 10%+ death as a failure rate (Julie’s personal failure rate).”

For one thing, the RAC seemed to be planning on how to skew the results of the field spaying of mares with “Asking for 100 mares to avoid drastic statistics if a couple mares died.”  Also, there are only a few individuals with the skills to spay mares, but are they going to “train” people to do this on our wild horses?  And this is stated in a cold, matter of fact manner:  “There will be a death loss. We don’t know what the long term survival rate after returning to the range.”

Then they shouldn’t be doing this.  I repeat:  The BLM is EXPERIMENTING ON OUR WILD HORSES & BURROS.

We are anticipating that the BLM will make a big push for the permanent sterilization of wild horses and burros at the upcoming National Wild Horse & Burro Advisory Board meeting this April 22-23 in Columbus, Ohio.  It seems they may now have another sterilization supporter on the Board.

As a member of the Oregon Natural Desert Association, Julie said she likes cattle.  She’ll fit right in on the BLM National Wild Horse & Burro Advisory Board.

 

 

Western Wild Horses Under Siege, details by Carol Walker on Wild Horse & Burro Radio (Wed., 4/15)

painy

Wild_Horse_Burro_Radio_LogoJoin us on Wild Horse Wednesday (*SM) , April 15, 2015

6:00 pm PST … 7:00 pm MST … 8:00 pm CST … 9:00 pm EST

Listen to the archived show Here!

This is a 1 hour show.  Call in with questions during the 2nd half hour.  

Call in # (917) 388-4520

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Our guest is Carol Walker, Dir. of Field Documentation for Wild Horse Freedom Federation who will talk about BLM’s plans to sterilize wild horses, the many deaths of the recently captured Wyoming “checkerboard” wild horses, the BLM’s plans that could, in essence, destroy the Pryor Mountains wild horse herds, and an update on the wild horses at the Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary. (photo above: wild horses in winter in Adobe Town, by Carol Walker)

4boyscarol-1958-editcc5x7 Carol Walker

Carol is a plaintiff in the lawsuit that has been attempting to stop the BLM from removing over 800 wild horses from Adobe Town, Salt Wells Creek, and Great Divide Basin in Wyoming.

Carol’s website is http://www.wildhoofbeats.com/ and you can see her photography of wild horses at http://www.livingimagescjw.com/

Tonight’s radio show will be hosted by Debbie Coffey, V.P. & Dir. of Wild Horse Affairs, Wild Horse Freedom Federation

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Federal Plan to Gather Tribal Horses Draws Fire

Story by Jeff DeLong, RGJ as published in the Reno Gazette-Journal

“We are our own nation. We are the lawmakers. We make all the rules based on what’s best for our own people.”

HorsesbythenumbersFORT McDERMITT — Across a rugged swath of mountainous terrain just south of the Oregon border, government land managers and an Indian tribe are poised to round up to 2,000 horses, many of them roaming federal land illegally.

A plan by the U.S. Forest Service and the Fort McDermitt PaiuteShoshone Tribe to conduct a horse gather on federal and tribal land this summer is already drawing fire from wild horse advocates, with the issue likely to generate as much controversy as it did the last time horses were removed from the same area two years ago.

Forest Service and tribal officials as well as local ranchers insist the proposed gather is the best way to address a long-simmering problem posing an economic hardship to some and causing serious damage to a sensitive landscape, particularly during a time of drought.

Horse advocates counter the planned helicopter roundup of tribal-owned horses is a crisis solution to long-standing mismanagement of federal land and that the tribe will profit at taxpayer expense. They say federally protected wild horses will inevitably get caught up in the operation and that many horses – wild or domestic – “ultimately face a fate of slaughter.”

Both sides appear steered toward a collision course, much as occurred in 2013.

The joint operation by the tribe and Forest Service seeks to remove scores of horses grazing on Forest Service and BLM land adjoining the Fort McDermitt Paiute-Shoshone Reservation in the Santa Rosa Mountains, located about 75 miles north of Winnemucca near the Oregon line…(CONTINUED)

Click (HERE) to read the rest of the story

Erik Molvar of WildEarth Guardians on livestock grazing, oil & gas issues and more, on Wild Horse & Burro Radio (Wed., 4/8/15)

painy

Wild_Horse_Burro_Radio_LogoJoin us on Wild Horse Wednesday (*SM) , April 8, 2015

6:00 pm PST … 7:00 pm MST … 8:00 pm CST … 9:00 pm EST

Listen To the archived show (Here)!

This is a 1 hour show.  Call in with questions during the 2nd half hour.  

Call in # (917) 388-4520

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Erik Molvar Headshot

Our guest tonight is Erik Molvar, M.S., Sagebrush Sea Campaign Director for WildEarth Guardians.

Erik Molvar joined WildEarth Guardians in 2013 as their Sagebrush Sea Campaign Director.  He received a M. Sc. in Wildlife Management at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, where he authored a number of scientific studies on the evolutionary biology, population dynamics, and ecology of Alaskan moose.

Erik spent 13 years as Wildlife Biologist and later Executive Director for Biodiversity Conservation Alliance in Wyoming, where he specialized in sage grouse conservation and oil and gas issues.  He served four years on the Laramie City Council, where he moved a national resolution on hydraulic fracking through the National League of Cities.

WildEarth Guardians states “Between the Rocky Mountains and the Sierra Nevada exists a vast legacy of boundless and untamed lands: we call it the Sagebrush Sea and much of it belongs to every American. Decisive conservation action on nearly 80 million acres of this landscape has long been delayed and denied.”

Key objectives of the Sagebrush Sea Campaign are to retire livestock grazing from millions of acres by offering ranchers an equitable exit strategy and to secure federal legislation that authorizes voluntary and permanent grazing permit retirement.  WildEarth Guardians also works to save prairie dogs and sage grouse.

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Erik is also a professional writer and photographer, and has authored 16 guidebooks to national parks and wilderness areas across the West.

Read Erik’s 25th Anniversary Story “How the West Was Won“.  To read many interesting reports by WildEarth Guardians, click HERE.

Tonight’s radio show will be hosted by Debbie Coffey, V.P. & Dir. of Wild Horse Affairs, Wild Horse Freedom Federation

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New Federal Fracking Rules Rely on FracFocus Even as EPA Research Highlights Site’s Flaws

EPA researchers ran up against a major stumbling block in crunching numbers based on FracFocus’ data, an issue that some warn may continue to cause problems even as the Bureau of Land Management adopts FracFocus as the mechanism for tracking fracking chemicals used on federal public lands.”

Source: desmogblog.com

by Sharon Kelly

chemicals  Photo credit:”Bulk fluid shipping containers on pallets ready for shipment,” via Shutterstock.

It’s a classic case of the government’s left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing. Days after the Bureau of Land Management issued new federal rules for fracking on federal land, relying heavily on an industry-run site called FracFocus, the Environmental Protection Agency issued a study mainly noteworthy for the shortcomings of the site that it revealed.

More than 70 percent of the chemical disclosure statements that drillers posted on FracFocus between January 2011 and February 2013 were missing key information because drillers labeled that data “confidential business information,” the EPA reported.

On average, drillers reported using a mix of 14 different chemicals at each well site. At sites where information was withheld, an average of five chemicals were not named.

In fact, FracFocus allowed drillers to conceal the identity of more than one out of every ten chemicals whose use was “disclosed” on the site, EPAresearchers found.

This made it impossible for EPA‘s researchers, who received over 39,000 disclosure statements from FracFocus in March 2013 and published their study two years later, to definitively say what chemicals drillers used most often, how much of each chemical was injected underground, or even to simply create a list of all the chemicals used at the wells.

“The project database is an incomplete picture of all hydraulic fracturing due to … the omission of information on CBI [confidential business information] ingredients from disclosures, and invalid or erroneous information created during the development of the database or found in the original disclosures,”EPA noted in a fact sheet about the research.

All told, the EPA was able to identify 692 different chemicals — including hydrochloric acid, methanol and diesel fuel — that were used during fracking. But that number is almost certainly incomplete, EPA researchers said, in part because over 129,000 individual ingredient records were labeled secret.

The gaps immediately drew the ire of environmental groups.

The fracking industry is hiding a lot of information about the chemicals they are using in our communities,” Kate Kiely, a spokeswoman for the Natural Resources Defense Council, told Bloomberg. “Even without that information, it is clear that there is widespread use of dangerous chemicals.”

Just seven days before EPA‘s results were released, the Bureau of Land Management announced new rules intended to manage fracking on over 247 million acres of public land managed by the federal government and the 700 million acres for which the government owned mineral rights as of 2013.

The BLM‘s newly-minted chemical disclosure rules are built around FracFocus, allowing drillers to make required reports through the industry-backed website.

Data, data, everywhere…

EPA researchers ran up against a major stumbling block in crunching numbers based on FracFocus’ data, an issue that some warn may continue to cause problems even as the Bureau of Land Management adopts FracFocus as the mechanism for tracking fracking chemicals used on federal public lands.

FracFocus stored the information drillers provided in separate .pdf files for each disclosure, and every .pdf form can be different if drillers decide to edit the formatting. This meant that EPA researchers needed to spend enormous amounts of time simply transferring each bit of information into a spreadsheet, and then going back and making sure that each bit of information was in the proper place.

Some open-government advocates say that the BLM‘s reliance on FracFocus runs contrary to an executive order issued by President Obama that pledged to make data from the government “easy to find, accessible, and usable” by requiring it to be “machine-readable” — essentially in a format that lets researchers access it.

“Besides the fact that this decision flouts the President’s own Executive Order #13642 on Open Data, why are we so concerned about how the government manages fracking data?” David Manthos, Communications Director of the environmental organization SkyTruth wrote in a blog posting about the BLMrules. “The reason is because this decision will deprive property and homeowners, scientists, decision-makers, emergency responders, healthcare professionals, and the general public of effective access to information that is vital to investigating the environmental, social, and public health impacts of modern oil and gas drilling.”

FracFocus has promised to upgrade its site, having already done so once since it provided EPA researchers with the raw materials for their study. But SkyTruth’s Manthos remains skeptical.

“I’m concerned that BLM is basing their decision on vague promises, and will have no leverage or authority to control the timetable, implementation, or functionality of these improvements,” he said.

For a while, Mr. Manthos’ organization tackled the tedious task of scraping data from the FracFocus site and importing it into spreadsheets so researchers could use it. But in 2013, their work came to an abrupt halt when FracFocus froze SkyTruth’s access to the site.

There was a little error message that was coming out saying, ‘Hey, you’re sending too many requests. You’re being blocked for 24 hours,’” SkyTruth’s Paul Woods explained to StateImpact last year. “Then, they block you for 48 hours and then they block you forever.”

SkyTruth is not the only organization to find fault with FracFocus. In 2013, astudy published by Harvard University’s Environmental Law Program gave the site a failing grade, noting that it “has limited quality assurance procedures” because “FracFocus staff does not review submissions” uploaded by drillers.

The BLM‘s new rules also allow drillers, not regulators, to decide when a chemical should be considered secret as they upload their disclosures to FracFocus.

“These trade secret provisions are much weaker than many states and ignore the advice of a Department of Energy advisory panel which unanimously recommended that ‘any trade secret exemptions permitted by BLM in its regulations for hydraulic fracturing on federal lands include a rigorous process of claiming trade secret exemptions and robust trade secret verification and challenge mechanisms,’” the NRDC‘s Amy Mall wrote in response to the new rules.

The relative laxity of the BLM‘s new rules has done little to deter protest from the oil and gas industry, who see the rules as chipping away at state-level oversight of the shale drilling rush.

“Under the strong environmental stewardship of state regulators, hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling have opened up a new era of energy security, job growth, and economic strength,” API Director Erik Milito said in a statement. “A duplicative layer of new federal regulation is unnecessary, and we urge the BLM to work carefully with the states to minimize costs and delays created by the new rule to ensure that public lands can still be a source of job creation and economic growth.”

Already, battles over the BLM‘s new rules are headed into the courthouse.

Two industry groups, the Independent Petroleum Association for America and the Western Energy Alliance, have filed lawsuits claiming that the BLM‘s rules overreach federal authority, as has the state of Wyoming. Environmental organizations have suggested that the rules could also be vulnerable to a challenge under the National Environmental Policy Act.

The bottom line is,” the NRDC‘s Amy Mall told The Dallas Morning News, “these rules fail to protect the nation’s public lands — home to our last wild places, and sources of drinking water for millions of people.”

Sunshine Laws and BLM’s news release on the upcoming National Wild Horse & Burro Advisory Board meeting

A BLM “News Release” is below.  There will be a live stream of this meeting, and we will post the link so you can listen.  I’d like to call your attention to the last sentence of the news release:  “In Fiscal Year 2013, the BLM generated $4.7 billion in receipts from public lands.”  I wonder how much the BLM got from selling off our public lands in 2014.

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And just a quick reminder, there are both state and Federal government transparency “Sunshine Laws.”  You can read the text of the U.S. Government in the Sunshine Act (5 U.S.C. 552b)  HERE.   The subject matter (agenda) must be made available for the public ahead of the meeting.  You are allowed to audio and video record meetings.   If meetings are “closed” to the public, you can obtain transcripts of the closed meetings.  Also check the state laws where the meeting is taking place, because they will also specify what you can do (like carry big signs into the meeting room).  If you are unable to drive to your local BLM Resource Advisory Committee (RAC) and subcommittee meetings, call the BLM and ask them to use a cell phone so you can listen and comment during the public comment time.

“The open meeting requirement of the Act mandates that, except as provided in the Act’s 10 exemptions, “every portion of every meeting of an agency shall be open to public observation.”

______________________________________________________________________________

SOURCE:  BLM

Release Date: 03/23/15
Contacts: Tom Gorey , 202-912-7420

BLM Sets Meeting of National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board for April 22-23 in Columbus, Ohio

The Bureau of Land Management’s National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board will meet on April 22-23 in Columbus, Ohio, to discuss issues relating to the management and protection of wild horses and burros on Western public rangelands. The two-day meeting will take place on Wednesday, April 22, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Thursday, April 23, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (The meeting times are local time; Columbus is in the Eastern Time Zone.)
The upcoming Advisory Board meeting will be held at the Hyatt Regency Columbus, 350 N. High Street, Columbus, Ohio 43215; phone number: 614-463-1234. The meeting will be live-streamed (at http://www.blm.gov/live).  The agenda of the meeting can be found in the March 23, 2015, Federal Register (at http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2015-03-23/pdf/2015-06517.pdf).
The Advisory Board provides input and advice to the BLM as it carries out its responsibilities under the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act. The law mandates the protection and management of these free-roaming animals in a manner that ensures healthy herds at levels consistent with the land’s capacity to support them.  According to the BLM’s latest official estimate, approximately 49,200 wild horses and burros roam on BLM-managed rangelands in 10 Western states.
The public may address the Advisory Board on Wednesday, April 22, from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., local time. Individuals who want to make a statement at Wednesday’s meeting should register in person with the BLM by 2 p.m., local time, on that same day at the meeting site.  Depending on the number of speakers, the Board may limit the length of presentations, set at three minutes for previous meetings.
Speakers should submit a written copy of their statement to the BLM at the addresses below or bring a copy to the meeting.  There may be a Webcam present during the entire meeting and individual comments may be recorded.  Those who would like to comment but are unable to attend may submit a written statement to: National Wild Horse and Burro Program, WO-260, Attention: Ramona DeLorme, 1340 Financial Boulevard, Reno, Nevada, 89502-7147. Comments may also be e-mailed to the BLM (atwildhorse@blm.gov); please include “Advisory Board Comment” in the subject line of the e-mail.
For additional information regarding the meeting, please contact Ms. DeLorme, Wild Horse and Burro Administrative Assistant, at 775-861-6583.  Individuals who use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) may reach Ms. DeLorme during normal business hours by calling the Federal Information Relay Service at 1-800-877-8339.
The Advisory Board generally meets twice a year and the BLM Director may call additional meetings when necessary.  Members serve without salary, but are reimbursed for travel and per diem expenses according to government travel regulations.

In its management of wild horses and burros under the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act, the BLM is implementing recommendations made by a June 2013 report of the National Academy of Sciences. For instance, the BLM is taking actions to increase the use of population growth-suppression measures on overpopulated herds roaming Western public rangelands and implementing methods developed by the U.S. Geological Survey for more accurate population estimates.

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land, the most of any Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM’s mission is to manage and conserve the public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations under our mandate of multiple-use and sustained yield. In Fiscal Year 2013, the BLM generated $4.7 billion in receipts from public lands.

 

 

BLM Requests Input On Application To Graze Bison Year-Around At Flat Creek Allotment

Although this area is in northern Montana and not on a wild horse Herd Management Area, it is an example that it is possible to change a class of livestock (from cattle to bison) and change the livestock use (from seasonal to year round grazing) on public lands.

The American Prairie Reserve (APR), plans to use about 250,000,000 acres of PUBLIC LANDS with a goal of obtaining 500,000 acres of private land to graze bison in a “wildlife park.”

The APR website states “Building A Multi-Million Acre Wildlife Reserve
In northeastern Montana, American Prairie Reserve (APR) represents a unique effort to assemble a multi-million acre wildlife park that will conserve the species-rich grasslands of Montana’s legendary Great Plains for the enjoyment of future generations.”

While APR plans to make these public lands benefit future generations, shouldn’t this be what the BLM is doing with our public lands according to the Federal Land Management Planning Act (FLPMA)?

And although it seems nice of APR to state that the reserve (our public lands) will never be “locked up” from public use, this plan would still convert public lands to uses directed by a private organization.

–  Debbie

Lingohr.bison_ (photo:  Dennis Linghor, American Prairie Reserve)

SOURCE:  roundupweb.com

(MALTA, Mont.) – The Bureau of Land Management Malta Field Office is seeking public input for an environmental analysis regarding a grazing permittee’s application to change their class of livestock and to change the livestock use and management on the Flat Creek Allotment (15439).

The American Prairie Reserve has applied to change the class of livestock from cattle to indigenous bison on their permit to graze public lands on the Flat Creek Allotment in south Phillips County.

In addition, they are seeking permission to remove interior fencing and manage their private lands along with the public lands as one common pasture. They are also requesting to change the allotment grazing season to year-round from the current May 1 – Nov. 15 grazing season.

The allocated animal unit months (AUMs) and carrying capacity of the public lands would remain unchanged. All regulations for grazing public lands would apply and all grazing management would continue to adhere to the Standards for Rangeland Health.

For more information, please call B.J. Rhodes, Rangeland Management Specialist, at (406) 654-5120. Substantive comments about this application must be in writing and can be sent to the Malta Field Office, 501 South 2nd St. East, Malta, MT 59538 or email brhodes@blm.gov.