Horse News

Lawsuit Filed to Halt BLM’s Scheduled Wild Horse Roundup on the Wyoming Checkerboard

Carol Walker, Director of Field Documentation for Wild Horse Freedom Federation, is the plaintiff in this case.  Carol has been documenting wild horses in Wyoming, Montana and Colorado for ten years.  Her book Wild Hoofbeats: America’s Vanishing Wild Horses, contains photos of the Adobe Town horses www.WildHoofbeats.com.

Carol Walker and her mustang companion, Mica.

Carol Walker and her mustang companion, Mica.

Carol Walker, plaintiff in the case and Wild Horse Freedom Federation board member said,” BLM is primed and ready to annihilate wild horse families in the Adobe Town HMA despite the fact that the vast majority of these horses do not even live in the Checkerboard.”  The noted photographer and author went on to say, “the horses would not have a chance if this action goes forward.  They’ll be destined to a life of incarceration and the American public will lose an iconic symbol of freedom and independence.”

Press Release: For Immediate Release

Lawsuit Filed to Halt BLM’s Scheduled Wild Horse Roundup on the Wyoming Checkerboard

Scheduled roundup would permanently remove all wild horses on 1.2 million acres.

CHEYENNE, WY (August 1, 2014) – The American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign (AWHPC), The Cloud Foundation, and Return to Freedom today filed a lawsuit in federal court in Wyoming to block the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) from rounding up over 800 wild horses from the Adobe Town, Salt Wells and Divide Basin Herd Management Areas (HMAs) in the southwestern part of the state.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court of Wyoming by the public interest law firm Meyer Glitzenstein and Crystal, alleges that the BLM violated the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA), the Wild Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act (Wild Horse Act), and the Administrative Procedure Act, by authorizing the permanent removal of hundreds of wild horses from public and private lands within these three HMAs, known as the Wyoming Checkerboard. BLM has authorized this large-scale roundup of wild horses from public land in Wyoming without conducting any environmental analysis, without engaging the public during the decision-making process, and without making certain statutorily required determinations under the Wild Horse Act.

“BLM’s plan to roundup over 800 wild horses from Wyoming is an egregious violation of federal law and established procedures for public input,” said Suzanne Roy, AWHPC director. “In proceeding with this roundup, the agency is blatantly placing ranching special interests over the interests of the American public and our federally-protected wild horses on public land.”

“The BLM’s decision to move forward without any opportunity for public review or comment on such a drastic action is a blatant slap in the face to the American public and the Democratic process,” states Ginger Kathrens, Executive Director of The Cloud Foundation. “Losing these wild horse families so that private livestock interests can continue to make money at taxpayer expense is truly disgusting.”

“If this roundup is allowed to proceed, it will be the beginning of the end for half of Wyoming’s remaining wild horses,” said Neda DeMayo, founder and president of Return to Freedom. “This is just another complacent surrender of the BLM to pressure from livestock ranchers, a convenient tactic to proceed with wild horse eradication.”

Carol Walker, plaintiff in the case and Wild Horse Freedom Federation board member said,” BLM is primed and ready to annihilate wild horse families in the Adobe Town HMA despite the fact that the vast majority of these horses do not even live in the Checkerboard.” The noted photographer and author went on to say, “the horses would not have a chance if this action goes forward.  They’ll be destined to a life of incarceration and the American public will lose an iconic symbol of freedom and independence.”

BLM is justifying its decision by claiming the agency is required under a consent decree with the Rock Springs Grazing Association to conduct this roundup. This consent decree resulted from a lawsuit that the Interior Department invited and then settled by capitulating to the rancher’s demands – the elimination of wild horses from the Wyoming checkerboard. Nothing in that agreement, however, authorizes BLM to violate the multiple federal statutes and regulations that govern the permanent removal of federally protected wild horses from public land.

AWHPC and The Cloud Foundation were intervenors in the Rock Springs Grazing Association litigation that resulted in the Consent Decree, and have been fighting BLM’s implementation of the decree since that time. The groups are asking the court to stop the roundup, which is scheduled to begin on August 20.

15 replies »

  1. RSGA controls the rangeland in the Wyoming checkerboard, an area 40 miles wide by 70 miles long that runs along the historic transcontinental railway corridor.

    RSGA owns 550,000 acres outright and leases an additional 450,000 acres from the Anadarko Land Company, a subsidiary of Anadarko Petroleum Corp. RSGA also holds permits to graze livestock on a large portion of the public lands in the checkerboard.

    RSGA owns members graze approximately 50,000 to 70,000 sheep and about 5,000 cattle on deeded private lands and leased public lands. By contrast, just 1,100- 1,600 wild horses are allowed to roam the area.

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    • Thank you Louie for the important info..thank you for all 3 comments on today’s news.. please keep us informed and of course thank you to everyone there who is keeping us aware of what is really going on..you guys inform us, who are so far away from this situation, and give us valuable information to communicate with our politicians and try to do something to help…thank you all so much.

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  2. There needs to be a different judge this time….one from a different state than Wyoming, and preferably from the other side of the Rockies:

    http://www.wywf.org/nancyfreudenthal.html
    Energy and environmental issues have been Freudenthal’s catalyst for thought. She was a partner in the law firm of Davis & Canon before being nominated to federal judgeship. Perhaps the most notorious tidbit of her career springs from partnerships. Her husband, Governor Dave Freudenthal, nominated her along with two others to President Barack Obama for the position of federal judge for the United States District Court of the District Court Wyoming with the missive that “I thought about that long and hard, and the question really came down to (was) should she be penalized for having married me.”

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    • If this judge has even the remotest connection to even one cattle or sheep rancher in that area, she must recuse herself. If she resides in that area, chances are good that she is acquainted with the local ranchers, if not good friends with them. But it’s highly doubtful she will follow the law and recuse herself, seeing as how no one else obeys the law where our wild horses are concerned.

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      • No matter what Judge resides over this case , they must get some cahonies, Stand for all of America backing the Mustangs , according to Law, not some low life ranchers, who dont even pay there taxes, but the million of Americans that do , this is about Our Icons , National treasures the American Ambassadors of Freedom, who throughout History have never let us down, but trusted in us and our Judgment,there is no Question the Mustangs belong here on our Ranges,ecologically, eviormentallyand Scienticifically all proven fact without any doubt……… Now is the time for the Judge to show why he or she is wearing that sacred Black Robe……………..its for Truth Justice and the representing of all Americans !!!!

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  3. How the Department of the Interior Sold Out America’s Wild Horses
    http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2013/03/how-the-department-of-the-interior-sold-out-americas-wild-horses/274159/

    The proposed deal would remove approximately two million acres of wild horse habitat in that Western state. It would immediately eliminate wild horses from two herd management areas and gradually reduce to zero the population in a third area. In return, the ranchers would allow a few hundred horses to temporarily remain on the Checkerboard but pay no additional leasing fees for the public land upon which their livestock are permitted to graze.

    The federal case came before a federal trial judge, who happens to be married to the former governor of Wyoming. The former governor is no friend to the wild horses. In fact, his tenure was marked by a great deal of animosity toward the herds. The judge’s decision — whether to approve or deny the Consent Decree or suggest modifications to it — could come at any time.

    Jane Doe, as you may already have guessed, is Sylvia Baca, the former Interior Department official. The ranchers in the scenario are the folks at the Rock Springs Grazing Association. The judge is U.S. District Court Chief Judge Nancy D. Freudenthal. Her husband is former Governor Dave Freudenthal.

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    • How the heck is this allowed to happen? I mean, we all know the BLM is rogue, but how the hell is it possible that this ridiculous conflict of interests between the Governor and the judge on the case? How much more preposterous is this going to get? Why is this so unstoppable? Grrrrr.

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  4. And like I posted a couple of days ago, now they want to put Buffalo back into Wyoming and the West-really-what are we missing in this big picture?

    But we all know someone who runs Buffalo in Montana for slaughter – maybe a way to get Buffalo graising rights from the BLM.

    Things are getting down to the wire now for the wild horses – if any of our advocates have any new ideas – let’s throw them out now – all the sad sights “be the voice for the Voiceless” NOW Is THE TIME.

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      • Thank You!!!!! Geri, I cried through the whole video, and then I thought let this be more then a tribute but a welcome back to the Ranges that belong to them !!!!! We must all step up for the Mustangs , in the past we obviously and ennically have done everything wrong for them when we thought we were doing everything right , we must step out o\f the box , and get this right !!!!!

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  5. All we need is a Judge who knows the ramifications of Zeroing out our Mustangs, and Understands the Laws and enforces them…. Pray that he or she is guided by complete knowledge and passion for the Job he or she is entrusted with ……..BRAVO TO CAROL WALKER !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Post Where to send Donations Please !!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  6. I seem to recall on reading about the consent decree awarded last year which gave the checkerboard removals the green light that one of the stipulations was that the presiding judge then was to also preside over any future revisiting of that judgement. If so, then this case may be rejected out of hand. I think those involved should plan for an appeal and a run all the way to the Supreme Court.

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