Secrecy Clouds Reason for Expired Members Serving
HOUSTON, (Horseback) – The Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board will sit in judgment of the nation’s wild horse policy in Phoenix for the next two days. But the meeting will be questionable, and possibly illegal, since three board members whose terms expired last July continue to serve at taxpayer expense and an additional board member’s term is clouded by allegations she is head of a sham wildlife advocacy group.
The meeting will draw protest from nationally known wild horse advocates including Dances With Wolves Author Michael Blake, Emmy award winning documentary filmmaker Ginger Kathrens, and R.T. Fitch, author of Straight From the Horse’s Heart. Also on hand will be wild horse photographer and journalist Laura Leigh who is suing the agency under the First Amendment claiming she and other reporters have been repeatedly denied access to roundups.
“The BLM is claiming once again that it is reforming its ways,” he said. “We will know they are sincere this time if we see real equine advocates replacing the puppets and sycophants with expired terms who continue to serve on their advisory board.”
Hollands words were echoed by noted equine author R.T. Fitch.
“This bogus board of special interests has, historically, thumbed their collective noses at the US public,” he told Horseback Online. ” Now it’s time for the public to turn the tables and question the validity of the Board’s charter and the legality of it’s very existence.”
BLM Director Bob Abbey claimed late last month that the BLM would institute vast reforms to its wild horse and burro management practices in the wake of fierce congressional scrutiny and negative press coverage.
Yet three members of the agency’s Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board who should have left their post on June 14, 2010, continue to serve despite shady authority to have their terms extended until new members are appointed.
“The Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture are reviewing candidates for the categories of Natural Resource Management,
“Once the Secretaries agree on the selections, appointment letters will be sent out,” Gorey said.
Horseback Online broke the story February 17 that members whose terms expired are continuing to serve and attend the Phoenix meeting with their expenses presumably reimbursed by the BLM.
And one board member continues to serve under a cloud after allegations she heads a sham horse welfare group. Robin Lohnes of Washington, D.C. heads an organization with vast funding, but no apparent membership, and no discernable public presence other than a vacant office in a Georgetown hotel.
But Gorey says the old board members whose terms have expired may continue to serve, but cites no statute that enables them to continue in office.
“These terms have been temporarily extended until new nominees are appointed, “Gorey said.
Each of the holdover trustees represents an area of the agency’s interest. They are:
Ms. Renee Taylor – Livestock Management
Dr. Vernon D. Dooley – Wild Horse and Burro Management
Dr. J. Wayne Burkhardt – Natural Resources Management
All oversee areas that are in the direct line of fire of wild horse advocates critical of the agency’s massive roundups which some say will eventually cause the North American Mustang to become extinct.
Gorey told Horseback Magazine that BLM Director Bob Abbey has already named the prospective replacement board members but refused to make them public. Asked if the secretive bureau was hiding the identity of its appointees, an official in Abbey’s office said the names are being kept secret, not by law, but through BLM Policy.
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- Wild Horse Advocates’ Press Conference Scheduled for Thursday, March 10 in Phoenix (rtfitch.wordpress.com)
- Action Alert: Wild Horse Advocates to Rally at BLM Meeting (rtfitch.wordpress.com)
- The BLM’s Big “Fire Sale” of Our Public Lands (rtfitch.wordpress.com)
- Video Shows BLM Contractor Targeting Pregnant Wild Horses (rtfitch.wordpress.com)
- Event: Wild Horses and Burros Need Your Voice (thecloudfoundation.wordpress.com)
- Madeleine Pickens to Join Wild Horse Advocates and Celebs at Mustang Rally (rtfitch.wordpress.com)
- BLM says stampede is a “dirty” word (artandhorseslauraleigh.wordpress.com)
- “Welfare” Ranching is the Great BLM Lie (ppjg.wordpress.com)
- The BLM’s Internal “Investigation”: The Fox Guarding the Henhouse (ppjg.wordpress.com)