In a telephone conversation with Iron County Commissioner Dave Miller this morning, when asked for an update on the situation regarding rounding up wild horses, Mr. Miller stated that they were “loading ferals as we speak.”
This call was immediately followed by a call to BLM Utah State Director Juan Palma’s office, which referred the call to BLM Public Affairs Specialist Lisa Reid. I relayed Mr. Miller’s comment to Lisa Reid, who stated that as of last night, the “agreement” between BLM and Iron County Commissioners hadn’t been signed, but that yesterday evening, Juan Palma called David Miller one more time to make clear that no wild horses were to be removed.
Reid stated that the BLM agreed “any wild horses that are nuisance horses on private property” (in other words, wild horses that may have wandered off of a Herd Management Area) would be removed by the BLM. The rancher would need to submit a letter to request for the removal, and so far, BLM in this area had received two letters. One was for 7 head, and the other was for 20 head.
By the way, removing wild horses that may have wandered onto private property is a “wink, wink, nod, nod” loophole that ranchers across the west are using to push the BLM (and they probably don’t have to push too hard) to remove wild horses without the BLM having to prepare an EA. And, who would even know if the wild horses had somehow been driven onto the private property?
What is of concern is that only about 3 BLM employees are covering 3 HMA’s that are each about 62,00 acres (so that’s about 186,000 acres). Ms. Reid stated that there are only a few roads on these HMAs and that the BLM employees would be monitoring activities. But who is monitoring what could be happening to wild horses on private property if an agreement hasn’t been signed?
Ms. Reid told me that they don’t have rangers, since most are in Mesquite (the Cliven Bundy issue) but they have requested extra support. Ms. Reid will be giving updates to Wild Horse Freedom Federation and to other wild horse advocacy groups via teleconference. Meanwhile, the article below is one version of the BLM showdown with Cliven Bundy, and just take a look at all of the BLM law enforcement there.
We continue to be concerned about a lack of monitoring of wild horses that may have roamed onto private property, and for the safety of wild horses in Utah. The BLM has a mandate to protect the wild horses.