Residents Don’t Want to Foot Bill for Pickens’ Wild Horse Eco-Resort

By DYLAN WOOLF HARRIS of the Elko Daily

“…it’s the taxpayers who are getting gored…”
Madeleine Pickens at the 2011International Equine Conference ~ photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Madeleine Pickens at the 2011International Equine Conference ~ photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

ELKO — Certain local residents’ concerns weren’t assuaged by the Bureau of Land Management’s response to why $872,161 in federal money is paying for a proposed wild horse eco-sanctuary preliminary report.

The federally-owned, privately-managed Northeast Nevada Wild Horse Eco-Sanctuary is to be located 25 miles south of Wells on more than 500,000 acres of public land and about 14,000 acres of private land. The project’s next step requires the drafting of an EIS, which will require data to be collected and analyzed, and then drafted into a document.

Recently, naysayers spoke out at a county natural resources advisory committee meeting, asking a local BLM representative why the agency was paying for scoping. Private entities such as gold mines typically pay the scoping costs on public lands projects, said committee chair Ralph Sacrison.

In reality, BLM is responsible for doing the EIS statement, according to BLM Elko District Manager Ken Miller.

“The reason industry usually (pays for) them is because we can’t do it in the time needed,” he said. Sometimes industry opts to pay for scoping to ensure its completion in the quickest time possible.

But a tax-funded EIS, whether or not it’s typical, doesn’t change Sacrison’s position, who sees this as a systemic problem.

“It’s apparently a common practice, which makes me even more annoyed,” he said.

The idea of a wild horse eco-sanctuary was originally proposed in Washington D.C. by Saving America’s Mustang founder Madeleine Pickens. SAM is slated to manage the eco-sanctuary. That is who Sacrison and others believe should foot the EIS bill.

Pickens’ proposal piqued the BLM’s interest, Miller said. The BLM realized the current management technique of gathering wild horses and placing them in long-term holding in the Midwest wasn’t practical nor was leaving horses alone until the range was overpopulated. Soon after, it began soliciting ideas for sanctuaries. The agency received a few proposals; Pickens’ was selected.

“(The sanctuary) really is a BLM effort to manage public horses and care for public horses in a unique fashion,” Miller said. And, the BLM is responsible for managing the herd.

Sacrison views that as a convenient, but ultimately disingenuous, answer.

“It’s the Bureau of Land Management. Not the Bureau of Horse Management,” he said. “To push it off as a public sector rather than a private sector thing. Well, when it suits the agencies they call it a public sector responsibility.”

“All of the different agencies, when they have a project that they really want, they have the ability themselves to decree that this needs to be funded in the interest of the nation. In a lot of these cases, it’s the taxpayers who are getting gored,” he added.

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12 comments on “Residents Don’t Want to Foot Bill for Pickens’ Wild Horse Eco-Resort

  1. •?» “BLM ReaLiZed •
    the current* “management technique” of gathering wild Horses
    & placing them in Long-term holding in the Midwest wasN’t practical* ~
    n0r was leaving~Horses~alone*!* until the RANGE was overpopulated.” ….he S A I D . «— hold-ON,
    I’m STILL CHOKING «—right Here ! ? ! | geez, what a QuOte . B-)
    Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

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  2. No one can factually get around it !!!!!! There is no need or necessity to remove wild mustangs from their home, it is what we the people gave to them, and wished and made it unlawful to harass them, murder them ,or remove them, it was voted on by Congress and passed unanimously, that is how strongly they felt for these precious treasures …………… It was our Stand for these Beauties, I will not ever stand down on this……………………….. These vicious attacks on them should be stopped by America and Congress !!!!!! I am sick of these creed driven individuals and hope America feels the same !!!!!! WE must all Stand up and make them stop !!!!!!!! What part of the Mustangs belong to the people dont they understand ?????????

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  3. Well said, Arlene! The truth is if we had left our Mustangs alone from the very beginning, we wouldn’t be having this conversation! Also, talk about costing taxpayers….how about the millions of dollars spent in rounding them up, which was totally unecessary and irresponsible! Yes, the taxpayers are getting gored, but where was their outrage then? They’ve been getting gored, big time!

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  4. She sure is charging enough for anyone to come see the gelded mustangs who will not be, after all, in the “wild”, so she can damn well pay for the rest of the cost of maintenance costs. Let Pickens and BLM foot the bill. They are the ones that came up with this cockammamee idea anyway!!

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  5. my problem is that her ecosanctuary will be nonreproductive. how does she think that that’s natural? geldings aren’t part of the family. where will the precious foals be? these won’t be families! i wish the blm would just stop the roundups already!

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  6. I agree with Judy. I love the idea of the sanctuary, but not the idea of not establishing the family herds. To me, the purpose should be to establish the herds and keep them alive. As far as the cost to tax payers, we are paying for all the other things. If the roundups did not take place, we would not be paying private ranchers to keep the all the horses. Its such a scam…so I don’t want to hear those complaining about the cost because the American people would be shocked at what we are really paying for. The BLM needs to be reorganized from the top down and get the big cowboy boot!

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  7. This ecosanctuary should by no means come at the expense of the wild free-roaming horses on their three legal herd areas in this area. This seems to be the proposal of BLM. As usual some devious angle to further displace the wild horses from their rightful areas. This must stop. Grijalva should be Secretary of Interior!

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  8. What a hoot!

    I’m not a fan of Maddy’s plan….but does the outraged citizen handful know they are paying for mining, forestry, wild equines, wildlife, livestock grazing, public lands permits, water diversion and restriction on the taxpayer dime?

    Sacrison doesn’t KNOW what he is complaining about….gee, what a surprise a wild equine hater doesn’t know what he/she is talking about.

    And I bet Mr Sacrison (or should that be Mr Sanctimonious?) has something to do with or an interest in state and fed land use…err, misuse in some form or another. Farm Bureau, maybe?

    The reporter did a poop job…or maybe that WAS his job on this story.

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    • I did see where the reporter did mention “gold mining” EISs; only because a BLM weenie used it as a justification re paying for Maddy’s EIS………NOW where is the outrage on the bogus, inconsistent EAs, EISs, et al with regard to private livestock grazing v wild equines?????

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  9. The BLM and Pickens are trying to play God to the Wild Horses. Why don’t they just leave the Wild Horses and Burros in their own natural habitat and leave them be unharmed.

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