“…it’s the taxpayers who are getting gored…”
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.
Click (HERE) to visit the Elko Daily and to join the Conversation
- Please Oppose Blm’s Devastating Plan for Wyoming’s Red Desert Wild Horses (ppjg.me)
- Another Piece of the Pickens Wild Horse Eco-resort (rtfitchauthor.com)
- My Turn: Is BLM mismanaging wild horses? (rtfitchauthor.com)
- Update: Wild Horse & Burro Advocate Letters Reach President Obama via Congressman Jim Moran (rtfitchauthor.com)