BATTLE MOUNTAIN GRAZING SETTLEMENT SOWS SEEDS OF DISCORD

Forward by R.T. Fitch ~ Pres/Co-founder of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

“For the past several days I have been in a tizzy over the glamorization of the abusive and destructive horse racing ‘industry’ and last night several advocates reined me in and headed me back towards to wild horses and burros.  Sorry, but when it comes to our equines I see no silos.

Crybaby, welfare, subsidized ranchers have been in the news, as of late, for suing the BLM for not, allegedly, upholding the letter of the law by stripping federally protected wild horses from their rightful public range.  It’s all about entitlement and greed and what do the likes of these ‘ranchers’ do when things don’t go their way…they break the very laws that they have pledged to uphold.

The two couples highlighted below are actually quoted in the posted TV interview, below, as stating that YOUR public land is their ‘Private Property, bought and paid for’.  They pay pennies on the dollar for the right to graze their private cattle on your public land and it is considered, by them, to be THEIR land.  And when they break the law and graze their welfare cattle on the land in question the BLM caves to them, comes crying to them on all fours and begs them not to sue them any further.  I am both disgusted and flabbergasted.  Where is that BLM that I witnessed in person back at the Twin Peaks stampede in 2011 where 20 armed BLM rangers and law enforcement circled myself and three women, yes…me and 3 women…who only wanted to watch the roundup on our public lands; where are they now?  Oh, I forgot, we were wild horse advocates and considered dangerous while welfare ranchers are in bed and in cahoots with the BLM and Department of Interior.  Forgive me, I lost my train of thought there for a moment.

Back to the point, this is documented proof of the collusion and divisiveness that is in control of your public lands and hence, the destruction of our native wild horses and burros continues.  I, for one, have had enough.” ~ R.T.


SOURCE:  PEER.org

BATTLE MOUNTAIN GRAZING SETTLEMENT SOWS SEEDS OF DISCORD

Rancher Rewarded for Defiant Trespass as BLM Avoids Enforcement at All Costs

Eddyanne and Dan Filippini stating that our Public Land, which is home to wild animals such as horses, is THEIR land now they have violated the law and continue to ravage it with their destructive lack of proper management.

Eddyanne and Dan Filippini stating that our Public Land, which is home to wild animals such as horses, is THEIR land now they have violated the law and continue to ravage it with their destructive lack of proper management.

Washington, D.C. — Illegal livestock grazing on drought-stricken northern Nevada rangeland has now received Bureau of Land Management (BLM) approval, according to a settlement the agency reached with the ranchers. Western Watersheds Project and Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) criticized the deal as encouraging more rogue grazing, and they have asked Interior Secretary Sally Jewell to instead support closure decisions made by BLM district managers to protect public lands.

This week’s settlement agreement is the latest in the long-running dispute over drought closures in Battle Mountain, Nevada. The dry conditions prompted the BLM to close two grazing allotments (North Buffalo and Copper Canyon) in May 2013. Shortly thereafter, ranchers Dan and Eddyann Filippini appealed the closure decision, which was ultimately upheld by an Administrative Law Judge in the Department of Interior’s Office of Hearings and Appeals. Dissatisfied with the continued drought protective measures in place on these public lands, the ranchers escalated the situation last week by releasing livestock onto the North Buffalo allotment and publicly daring the BLM to act.

Rather than move to get the trespassing cows off, BLM acted quickly to reach a deal with the ranchers. In the settlement agreement dated June 5, 2015, the ranchers are allowed to leave their cattle on the disputed lands, but the Filippinis agree that they have committed a “willful” grazing trespass and will pay an enhanced grazing fee only for the period that their cattle were illegally turned out. The agreement also specifies that the ranchers will dismiss further litigation in the case.

The North Buffalo allotment is a 100,768 acre allotment which is a checkerboard mix of 55% public lands and 45% private lands and has no internal fencing to keep livestock off of public lands. The allotment also contains priority Greater Sage-grouse habitat as defined by the recently released Nevada and Northeastern California Greater Sage-Grouse Proposed Land Use Plan Amendment and Final Environmental Impact Statement.

“Just two weeks after the new Greater Sage-grouse land use plans were released, the BLM once again shows us how little commitment they have to protecting important land and wildlife habitat when pressured by industry,” said Ken Cole, Western Watersheds Project’s Idaho Director. “What good are the new plans if the agencies cave in to every whim of the ranchers?”

“These stretches of desert were closed because they are suffering from longstanding drought on top of decades of grazing abuse,” stated PEER Advocacy Director Kirsten Stade, pointing to satellite imagery showing clearly visible effects of overgrazing but noting that these lands at issue here have never undergone legally required official assessment of their ecological health. “The livestock industry enjoys heavily subsidized grazing privileges but acts as if it has an entitlement to the public’s lands.”

After last year’s Bundy debacle, local BLM managers in Nevada are under pressure from above to resolve any resource disputes regardless of the terms or the long-term effects on the health of the public lands. The groups today sent Interior Secretary Sally Jewell a letter asking her to support local BLM enforcement decisions and to develop an effective range enforcement strategy, rather than backing down like the agency did in the case of Cliven Bundy, or reaching new agreements with lawless ranchers, as they have now done at Battle Mountain.

In response to a request from U.S. Representative Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ), Ranking Member of the House Committee on Natural Resources, the Government Accountability Office is undertaking a review of the effectiveness of federal policies and practices “to detect and deter unauthorized livestock grazing on public range lands” in the words of a recent letter confirming the investigation.

_______________________

Video courtesy of Reason.TV
###

________________________

View the settlement

Read letter calling for Secretary Jewell to start enforcing grazing limits

See satellite images of the North Buffalo allotment

See a map of the entire allotment showing Greater sage grouse habitat

Trace Battle Mountain conflict

See GAO agreement to review grazing enforcement

See Administrative Law Judge order upholding the drought closure

Look at prior violations by these ranchers

See the Greater Sage-Grouse Proposed Land Use Plan Amendment

Explore PEER database displaying conditions of Western range lands

Help save the Heber wild horses in Arizona

We’re sharing some comments regarding the Heber wild horses suggested on Arizona advocate Jill Irvin’s Terra Wind Ranch facebook page.

11406996_847518525314355_3789242112633651986_n

The Heber Allotment Environmental Assessment is out and comments are due THIS FRIDAY.

NOTE:
“Heber Grazing Allotment Analysis #43442 Public Comment”
MUST BE in the subject line of your email in order for your comment to count!!

Send email to: comments-southwestern-apache-sitgreaves-black-mesa@fs.fed.us

 

Some talking points:

1) The NO grazing alternative is the least expensive.

The document requests structural and nonstructural improvements totaling over $4 million dollars and does not indicate a specific funding source. The document states, ““Projects such as these have the potential to be multi-financed between several partners, such as AZGFD, wildlife groups, permittee, and the Forest Service.” We can assume that taxpayers will be responsible for all if not most of the costs unless they tell us otherwise.

2) The NO grazing alternative has the greatest potential to stimulate the economy and increase tax revenues.

According to the latest census data regarding the Heber/Overgaard area (courtesy of the Arizona State Department of Commerce), the greatest revenues to the area are a result of tourism, retirement, government, schools, retail and construction. The no grazing alternative would increase the scenic value of the area and has the potential to increase tourist revenue.

3) The NO grazing alternative would provide the best environmental benefits.

The document states that the greatest opportunity for habitat improvement for many plant and wildlife species is the no grazing alternative and would result in improved soil stability and less stream turbidity. The EA also states the “primary benefit of this alternative is that recovery of soils, watershed and riparian conditions would occur.”

If you want to mention the horses …

The EA impacts almost half of the Heber Wild Horse Territory, but does not specifically discuss the potential impact from grazing under the new proposal to the wild horses this territory was created to protect.

The Heber Wild Horse Territory was created approximately 42 years ago, yet the Forest Service has never developed a territory management plan to protect the wild horses.  In many of the Forest Service documents and proposals written over the years any potential impact to the wild horses is not even discussed.  Larry Gibson, who currently manages the cattle owned by Seibert Cattle Company, has publicly stated that he wants every one of the wild horses removed, whether by adoption, euthanasia or slaughter.  He is not willing to share the forest with the wild horses.  Federal law mandates that the horses must remain in the territory, but Seibert Cattle Company can graze their cattle anywhere that grazing is allowed in the entire country.

http://knau.org/…/heber-wild-horses-legendary-or-problematic

(I encourage you to click on the link above and read the transcript of the 4 minute radio story as well as the comments below the interview.)

Thanks so much for your help preserving the freedom of the magnificent Heber Wild Horses. They are so worth the fight. Once these amazing wild horses are gone, they will be gone forever. We cannot let that happen.