BLM “News Release”Fraud?

Story by Debbie Coffey (copyright 2011) from the PPJ Gazette

“Why shouldn’t we write or call our Congressmen and BLM management officials?   American soldiers fought and died so that you would be free to do this.  BLM POLICIES are set at THE TOP by Congress, and by Secretary Ken Salazar of the Department of the Interior, and by Bob Abbey, Director of the Bureau of Land Management.  Call and write to them. ”

AUTHORS NOTE:  ALL DOCUMENTS MENTIONED BELOW ARE AVAILABLE IN THE READING ROOM AT http://wildhorseeducation.org/

Photo by Laura Leigh

A Bureau of Land Management (BLM) News Release (the BLM seems to be using the word “news” loosely here) dated 5/28/10 with Lisa Reid and Dean Bolstad listed as contacts, was a BLM announcement of the final public tours at Indian Lakes Wild Horse Facility.

This BLM release states: “Indian Lakes is a privately-owned and operated  facility, was never intended as a public facility and isn’t staffed to serve the public.  As a result, staff from other offices have been taken away from priority work and unplanned costs have been incurred.”

The most important question is “WHY would a government agency use OUR money to put something publicly owned (OUR wild horses) on PRIVATE PROPERTY, where we can NEVER HAVE ACCESS to them again?” Isn’t this like stealing?

I filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request and asked for a list of staff taken from other offices, for a list of the priority work they were taken away from and for a list of and the amount of money spent on the “unplanned costs.”  I received a letter from Paulette L. Sanford of the Department of the Interior dated 10/6/2010, and was told “There is no itemized list or record of the amount of money spent on the unplanned cost” and “there is no list or record of staff who were detailed to work at the Indian Lakes Facility away from their priority work.”  

I also asked for any prior meeting notes and telephone conversation notes regarding the statement that Indian Lakes Road was “never intended as a public facility.”

I received a contract modification for the Indian Lakes Road facility (AKA Broken Arrow USA) dated 3/22/2010 and signed by Troy Adams, for two hour public tours to be held once a week for the period of 1/01/2010 – 12/31/2015!  So apparently, 5 days before the “news release,” and only 3 days before the e-mail below, a contract was signed for future public tours of the Indian Lakes Road facility for the next 5 years.  Why would the BLM prepare and have a contract signed for something that they never intended to happen?

I also received a copy of an e-mail dated 5/25/2010, from Dean Bolstad, Deputy Division Chief of the Wild Horse and Burro Program, to (other BLM personnel) Edwin Roberson, Bud Cribley and Don Glenn, with a copy to John Neill, Lili Thomas, Lisa Reid, Doran Sanchez, Ron Wenker and Amy Leuders.

In this, Bolstad states:

“We now have a favorable Calico Court decision and we need to seriously consider the toll that these tours are taking on our employees, our resources and the damage that is being done to BLM’s image as a result of the tours.”

“John Neill’s and our veterinarian’s reputability is seriously being compromised by the fall out from the Indian Lakes tours.”

“The impact of stopping the tours pales in comparison to the impact to our employees and BLM’s image.”

“…the Churchill County Sheriff’s Department began an investigation following a complaint of alleged inhumane treatment of an animal at Indian Lakes.”

So, what prompted this investigation?

Photo by Laura Leigh

The public had many concerns, over a long period of time and it was not just about a few horses.

In the e-mail, Bolstad also stated:

“I am concerned about potential actions from the irrational and emotional publics that read Elyse Gardner’s blogs.  There have been no direct threats that we can take action against, but I’ve had calls from individuals who are clearly mentally unstable and others that express their outrage.”

Note that Bolstad stated “There have been NO DIRECT threats.”  BLM employees are Federal employees, and if they were threatened, the FBI would be called to investigate.  The FBI can track threatening phone calls that are made or e-mails that are sent to a government office or to a government employee.

I’ve read Elyse Gardner’s blog  (http://humaneobserver.blogspot.com/) and I don’t consider myself to be irrational and emotional.  You might have read her blog.  Do you consider yourself to be irrational and emotional?  Is Bolstad’s interpretation of “express outrage” a personal reaction to justified criticism of BLM policies and procedures?

I also received a copy of an Internal Working Document (ASLM Information Memorandum) dated 5/25/2010 from Dean Bolstad and John Neill which states:

“widely publicized extreme negative criticisms continue to erode BLM’s image.”

“The general public has had ample opportunities to view the Calico Complex wild horses, the Indian Lakes facility, and BLM’s operations.”

Usually, only about 10 members of the public were ALLOWED on the tour one day a week for a few hours, with one BLM employee leading the tour.  People had to call to make a reservation and give their name, phone number and city where they live.  If we’ve had “ample” opportunities to have access to our wild horses and the Indian Lakes facility, can we now remove our “ample” tax dollars that are paying for it?

“Due to outrage expressed by individuals that are often irrational and emotional, employees are becoming concerned for their personal safety, are experiencing high levels of stress and concerned that this negative publicity will motivate terrorism against our facilities similar to the Earth Liberation Front and Animal Liberation Front arson fires that occurred in the late 1990’s.”

This is like suggesting that the entire population of the U.S. be put into prison since there’s crime.  Many BLM facilities have many surveillance cameras and monitors in the office.  (Instead of pointing cameras on the horses, that need to be observed, the cameras are on you, THE PUBLIC.)

“Nevada BLM supports terminating the tours given Headquarters approval.  Extreme objection from Elyse Gardner and the Cloud Foundation will occur and they will organize a wave of emails and phone calls to BLM management officials and Congressmen.”

Why shouldn’t we write or call our Congressmen and BLM management officials?   American soldiers fought and died so that you would be free to do this.  BLM POLICIES are set at THE TOP by Congress, and by Secretary Ken Salazar of the Department of the Interior, and by Bob Abbey, Director of the Bureau of Land Management.  Call and write to them.

Issues regarding the Indian Lakes holding facility and documents available at the time are included in the First Amendment Rights lawsuit against the Bureau of Land Management filed by Laura Leigh in LEIGH v. SALAZAR.  To find out more about this lawsuit, go to http://wildhorseeducation.org/

All documents mentioned in this article are available for viewing in the “Reading Room” at http://wildhorseeducation.org/

To learn more about our wild horses and issues regarding the BLM:

http://wildhorseeducation.org/

https://rtfitch.wordpress.com/ ,

http://www.thecloudfoundation.org/

http://humaneobserver.blogspot.com/

http://www.wildhorsepreservation.org/

SOURCES:

BLM News Release, National Program Office, 5/28/2010

e-mail from FOIA request:  Dean Bolstad to Edwin Roberson, Bud Cribley, Don Glenn dated 5/25/2010

ASLM Information Memorandum, Internal Working Document, 5/25/2010, from Dean Bolstad and John Neill

Amendment of Solicitation/Modification of Contract (Modification No. 0002), Broken Arrow USA, dated 3/22/2010

Letter from Patricia L. Sanford, Chief, Division of IRM Governance, Department of the Interior, dated 10/6/2010