Hilary Wood, Pres. of Front Range Equine Rescue and Bruce Wagman (partner, Schiff Hardin law firm) on Wild Horse & Burro Radio (Wed., 10/26/16)


Wild_Horse_Burro_Radio_LogoJoin us on Wild Horse Wednesdays®, Oct. 26, 2016

5:00 pm PST … 6:00 pm MST … 7:00 pm CST … 8:00 pm EST

Listen to the archived show  (HERE!)

You can also listen to the show on your phone by calling (917) 388-4520.

You can call in with questions during the 2nd half hour, by dialing (917) 388-4520, then pressing 1.

This show will be archived so you can listen to it anytime.


Hilary Wood is the President and Founder of Front Range Equine Rescue (FRER) and works as the Director of Programs and Operations.  Front Range Equine Rescue, founded in 1997, is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization working to prevent the abuse and neglect of horses through rescue and education.  In 2005, Front Range Equine Rescue launched its “Save the Wild Horses” campaign in direct response to the Burns Amendment.

Recently, Front Range Equine Rescue filed a lawsuit to stop the BLM’s plans to conduct surgical sterilization experiments on 225 wild horses, many in various stages of pregnancy, and potentially thousands of more horses over time.  FRER’s lawsuit contended that the BLM’s intended sterilizations would cause harm and suffering and were in violation of federal law.  Six weeks later, the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management withdrew its program to perform experimental sterilization of wild mares in Oregon.


Bruce Wagman is a partner with Schiff Hardin law firm in San Francisco, and has represented FRER in all of its legal horse work. Bruce has an almost exclusive animal law focus, involving litigation, education, legislative counseling, and consultation.  Bruce’s clients include numerous animal protection organizations and private individuals.  He is a co-editor of the casebook Animal Law, and coauthor of A Worldview of Animal Law.  He has been teaching Animal Law since 1996 and currently teaches at three Bay Area law schools.  In the past five years, Bruce has focused much of his time on issues involving wild horses, horse abuse cases, and the slaughter of American horses for food.


This show will be hosted by R.T. Fitch, President of Wild Horse Freedom Federation.

To contact us: ppj1@hush.com, or call 320-281-0585



1/20/16 – Carol Walker, Dir. of Field Documentation for Wild Horse Freedom Federation, on BLM’s plans to sterilize wild horse and burros. Listen HERE.

1/27/16 – Marjorie Farabee, Dir. of Wild Burro Affairs for Wild Horse Freedom Federation, on threats to shoot wild burros in Arizona. Listen HERE.

2/8/16 – Representatives of 4 major wild horse & burro advocacy groups and advocates speak out against BLM’s plans for barbaric sterilization experiments on wild mares. Listen HERE.

2/10/16 – Jonathan Ratner, Western Watersheds Project’s Director for Wyoming, Utah and Colorado, talks about the environmental toll of privately owned livestock grazing on public lands. Listen HERE.

2/24/16 – Kirsten Stade, Advocacy Director for Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), on BLM’s skewed data minimizing the effects of livestock grazing on public lands. Listen HERE.

3/2/16 – Marjorie Farabee, Dir. of Wild Burro Affairs for Wild Horse Freedom Federation, Equine Mgr. of Todd Mission Ranch (TMR Rescue) & founder of Wild Burro Protection League, joined by local wild burro advocates fighting to save the wild burros of the Black Mountain Herd Management Area in Arizona. Listen HERE.

3/23/16 – Carol Walker, Dir. of Field Documentation for Wild Horse Freedom Federation interviews Susan W. Watt, Executive Director, Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary, located in South Dakota. Listen HERE.

5/4/16 – Gail A. Eisnitz, author of the book “Slaughterhouse” and Chief Investigator for the Humane Farming Association (HFA). Listen HERE.

6/22/16 – Charlotte Roe, Founder of Wild Equid League of Colorado, on BLM’s cruel experiments on wild horses and burros, including sterilization of pregnant wild mares, that are a launching pad for widespread use as “population suppression.” Listen HERE.

8/3/16 – Marjorie Farabee, Dir. of Wild Burro Affairs for Wild Horse Freedom Federation, Equine Mgr. of Todd Mission Ranch (TMR Rescue) & founder of Wild Burro Protection League with guests. Listen HERE.

8/10/16 – Gene Baur, Pres. & Co-Founder of Farm Sanctuary, on factory farming and the Farm Sanctuary. Listen HERE.

8/17/16 – Advocates Carla Bowers and Bonnie Kohleriter on why 83% of wild horse and burro herds are on the brink of collapse. Listen HERE.

8/31/16 – Steve Hindi (President and Founder) and Janet Enoch (Investigator) of SHowing Animals Respect & Kindness (SHARK) on rodeo cruelty and more. You can see all of SHARK’s rodeo exposés on YouTube by clicking here. Listen HERE.

9/7/16 – Carol Walker, Dir. of Field Documentation for Wild Horse Freedom Federation , on BLM plans to remove all wild horses from three of the largest remaining herds in Wyoming. Listen HERE.

9/14/16 – Susan Wagner, Pres. & Founder of Equine Advocates, on how the upcoming Presidential election can affect the fate of wild and domestic equines and horse slaughter. PLEASE SIGN EQUINE ADVOCATES’ PETITION HERE. Listen HERE.

9/21/16 – Mae Lee Sun, co-author of “Brumby: A celebration of Australia’s wild horses” and Craig Downer, wildlife ecologist and the author of the book “The Wild Horse Conspiracy” on the culling of the brumbies (wild horses) of the Snowy Mountains in New South Wales. Listen HERE.

9/28/16 – Laird Lucas (Executive Director) and Talasi Brooks (Staff Attorney) of Advocates for the West, a public interest, nonprofit environmental law firm with an 85% record of legal success protecting the wildlife and wild places of the American West. Listen HERE.

10/5/16 – Marjorie Farabee, Dir. of Wild Burro Affairs for Wild Horse Freedom Federation, Equine Mgr. of Todd Mission Ranch (TMR Rescue) & founder of Wild Burro Protection League reports on the 2016 Donkey Welfare Symposium. Listen HERE.

10/12/16 – Nancy Watson, President of SAFE Food SAFE Horses Coalition, has been raising worldwide awareness to the loopholes in U.S. legislation that allows U.S. equines (horses, donkeys, mules and burros) which are laden with pharmaceuticals, into the global food supply. Listen HERE.












Call to Action: Please Comment to Stop the Dangerous and Cruel Adobe Town Wild Mare Radio Collar Study

by Carol Walker, Director of Field Documentation for Wild Horse Freedom Federation
Published on WildHoofBeats

“This herd is not even above AML by the BLM’s own count, only 648 adult horses in the flyover count in April 2016”

Adobe Town mare and foal - by Carol Walker

Adobe Town mare and foal – by Carol Walker

The BLM is planning to roundup wild horses in the Adobe Town Herd Management Area in 5 separate locations in order to put radio collars on 30-40 wild mares. The study will begin in December 2016 and end in 2020.

All the documents are here: https://eplanning.blm.gov/epl-front-office/eplanning/planAndProjectSite.do?methodName=dispatchToPatternPage&currentPageId=80504

This study, which will be conducted by the University of Wyoming’s Department of Ecosystem Science and Management  has the following purpose:

“The Proposed Action is to implement a five (5) year research study (Appendix 1) that would document habitat selection, movement between habitats, seasonal use, and migration patterns of wild horses, within and outside of the ATHMA. The research objective is to understand how horses move across the Colorado-Wyoming border, how the removal of horses from the checkerboard portion of the HMA influences the movement of mares from non-checkerboard portions of ATHMA (i.e. creation of a void), how horses select landscape resources relative to their proportional availability, and how site fidelity of horses is influenced by season.”

Originally they were considering using bait trapping to capture the mares which would have much less chance of injuring or killing the horses than a helicopter roundup. They do not even discuss it as an option in the EA despite the response to the public’ comments to the Scoping Document which requested them to use this much less stressful and harmful method. Bait trapping also allows the family bands to be kept together, intact, much more easily.

The BLM dismisses very easily any impact on the wild horses that are rounded up using helicopters. Many will be injured and die, most will lose their families, foals will be separated from their mothers, and they will most likely be disrupted in a very substantial way from their normal areas and routines which DOES impact the outcomes of the study. Helicopter roundups use fear to drive the wild horses which is inhumane and also leads to extreme fear of helicopters.

This herd is not even above AML by the BLM’s own count, only 648 adult horses in the flyover count in April 2016.

My second biggest problem with this study is the use of radio collars which in past studies have led to injury and death when horses become entangled with brush or on fences or get a hoof caught. They say that they have remotely detonated release mechanisms on the collars so they can release the collar if the collar stops moving – but there are a tremendous number of questions that are unanswered:

  1. Why are they not using breakaway collars that break if the horses re in trouble, which have been used successfully before?
  2. How close to the collar does the person have to be to trigger the remote release mechanism?
  3. Does it work from say 70 miles away at the Rawlins BLM office or does the person have to be within view?
  4. What happens in winter when it is impossible to drive into the area?
  5. If they cannot drive into the area do they have the funds to charter a helicopter to fly over so they can detonate the remote release? If so, have they considered the stress upon the horses when a helicopter gets near them?
  6. Will it work when the temperatures get below -10 Fahrenheit? I was at a “gather” in Adobe Town in December 2013 when they released 40 wild mares and it was -19 degrees before I got to the highway.
  7. Does it hurt the horse when the release remotely “detonates?”
  8. What if the remote release fails? How can they help the mare that is in trouble?
  9. How often are they monitoring the collars to see if one has stopped moving? What about weekends?
  10. What about the reactions of the mare’s family members to this strange device now around her neck? What if she is rejected by the other horses because of it?

(They cite testing the collars at a short term holding facility, Palomino Valley. This is a completely different situation than the horses will face in the wild. Horses are not in families in holding facilities and there are not brush and fencing to get hung up on).

  1. Why can’t they use a small GPS under the skin? This would be so much safer and less intrusive for the mares. These “collars” are very old and low tech.

For all of these unanswered questions and because wild horses have been injured and died because of radio collars in previous studies: https://www.nap.edu/read/18466/chapter/5  I again suggest that they do NOT use radio collars but instead use Interns to follow, track, observe and photograph horses from specific areas.

This would remove the need for a helicopter roundup, which would provide far less stress and injury on the horses, and if would also provide more accurate data from people on the ground. Ten horses in Adobe Town are very colorful, and easily distinguished, so it would not be impossible to follow specific horses. It does not matter than some horses are less easy to find and see because if they have a few horses from each area, it does not matter which horses are less easily observed. If you round them up by helicopter this will be a complete disruption to the horses’ families and movement patterns. If you observe them without rounding them up you will obtain much more accurate data on where the horses are and move to.

My final argument is that this study is in no way, shape or form in the best interests of the horses. The researchers are seeking to prove that wild horses will “move into a void” created by rounding up and removing horses from the Checkerboard, so they can “prove” that it impossible to remove horses from the Checkerboard and keep them out. They are also hoping to “prove” that wild horses degrade riparian areas. There is no attempt to account for livestock grazing. They do not care about wild horse behavior or band fidelity, or they would use human observers. This cruel and dangerous study which is slanted toward proving that wild horses have no place on the HMAs in the Checkerboard should not be allowed to move forward. Since BLM has now formally withdrawn the 2016 Checkerboard Removal Decision Record – which was not the case at the time it issued the Draft EA – BLM should not move forward with the radio collar research because a major underlying premise (that 500+ wild horses would be removed from the Checkerboard before the radio collar research began) has now been eliminated.  In other words, the entire purpose behind this roundup was to see how horses move in response to a Checkerboard roundup; since there will be no Checkerboard roundup, there is no legal basis for the radio collar research as currently described in the Draft EA.

Please select alternative 2.2 No Action

This study is poorly conceived and planned and does NOT take the well being and humane treatment of the wild horses involved into proper consideration. This is not managing wild horses in the least invasive way possible, as they are mandated by the 1971 Free-Roaming Wild Horse and Burro Act. They should spend the next few months revising the study and if then they do decide to move forward they should use another capture method, which is bait trapping which they said they would discuss in the EA but failed to do. It is far more humane and will result in many less injuries and deaths. They should come up with a new EA including Bait Trapping or no rounding up at all but using direct observation as alternatives. And they should use a newer, safer  technology if they do wish to proceed with tracking the horses and eliminate the proposed use of radio collars.

The earliest they could start this roundup is December. They should not do it in December – it can get very cold, the horses are at greater risk of colic and injury when run in extremely cold temperatures. They should wait until next year in late summer or fall and address the questions that I have listed about the study and issue a new EA.

Please send your comments to the BLM here by November 1, 2016 at 4pm Mountain Time:

Wild Horse and Burro Specialist
Bureau of Land Management
Wyoming High Desert District
Rawlins Field Office
1300 North Third Street
P.O. Box 2407
Rawlins, Wyoming 82301
Fax: (307) 324-4224

Electronic comments must be sent to the following email address to be considered:

blm _ wy _ adobetown _ hma@blm.gov

(Please include “Adobe Town EA Comment” in the subject line.)

From the BLM: Public comments are most helpful if they are specific. The regulations (40 CFR 1503.3), state that comments on a proposed action ‘ shall be as specific as possible and may address either the adequacy of the statement or the merits of the alternatives discussed or both.” The most valuable comments are those that cite specific actions or impacts in the document and offer informed analysis of what is presented.

Also, pleased do send personalized comments in your own words. The BLM will count all of the form letter comments as one, which is not helpful for the horses.


Story by Grandma Gregg

Privately owned welfare cattle being herded onto public land and wild horse habitat DURING a BLM roundup at Antelope Complex, NV. ~ photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Privately owned welfare cattle being herded onto public land and wild horse habitat DURING a BLM roundup at Antelope Complex, NV. ~ photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

The Bureau of Land Management announced its Rangeland Stewardship Awards for 2016 and gave the awards to welfare ranchers. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) reported the federal government spends at least $144 million each year managing private livestock grazing on federal public lands, but collects only $21 million in grazing fees—for a net loss of at least $123 million per year.

The Rangeland Stewardship-Permittee Award went to the Mori Ranch in Tuscarora, Nevada

USDA subsidy information for Mori Ranches LLC

Mori Ranches LLC received payments totaling $464,477 from 1995 through 2014


USDA subsidy information for Mori Ranches LLC

Mori Ranches LLC received payments totaling $140,486 from 1995 through 2014

The Sage-Grouse Habitat Stewardship-Permittee Award went to the Drewsey Ranch in Burns, Oregon

USDA subsidy information for Drewsey Field Ranch Company

Drewsey Field Ranch Company received payments totaling $243,900 from 1995 through 2014



BLM Mouthpiece Rides Again: Protected Wild Horses and Burros be Damned

“In MY most outraged opinion” ~ R.T. Fitch

“Poison bleeds from the pen of the uninformed…”

david_philippsLike the distant scent of something rotting in the sun the stench of an alleged journalist, under the manipulation of the federal government, has returned to ensure that cruelty and misinformation about wild horses and burros will be spread in the biased, mainstream media, again: enter David Philipps, stage left. (YeeHaa, the little nerd has returned)

You remember Philipps, the cocky, wet-behind-the-ears, reporter wanna-be who blew out of the water an intensive underground investigation into the BLM selling wild horses and burros to slaughter back in 2012, cause he wanted a “scoop”? ( Yup, dat’s the creep…and he is back.)

In 2012 Philipps wrote an article on Tom Davis, neighbor and personal buddy of then Secretary of the Department of Interior Ken Salazar, selling over 1,700 federally protected wild horses off to slaughter…the problem with the expose’ was that it was too little too early as equine advocates had Davis and Salazar dead to rights and before they could adequately pull the documentation together to legally nail the wild equine killers Philipps blew the whistle and the paper trail to legal prosecution evaporated. Advocates had pled with Phillips to hold the info in check but it is a lesson learned that “loose lips sink ships” is a valid phrase that works as well in this war of words as it did back in the World War. Philipps is in it for Philipps. (Look at ME, Look at ME!)

"I'm going to kick your ass, boy!" ~ Salazar

“I’m going to kick your ass, boy!” ~ Salazar

The only good thing that came from Philipps vomiting up crucial evidence against kill buyers was that it pissed off the Chief Horse Killer himself, Ken Salazar, enough that he made the, oh my gosh, mistake of threatening to kick the little creep’s ass in public and not long afterwards he was no longer the Secretary of one of our government’s most corrupt agencies. (So sorry ya ain’t missed…oppps, he works for Hillary now as her transition team lead, yikes.)

Now the little sellout has ridden back onto the scene astride his keyboard of misinformation to paint for the public a story of fabricated frustration for the downtrodden leadership of the BLM and the “woe is me” poor cattle ranchers who house wild horses on their land, instead of cows, while making 5 figures a day for doing so. (Guess who is paying THAT bill, yup, tis you my friend.)

Last week Philipps latest installment in attempting to destroy the last of our wild horses and burro’s freedom was entitled, “Success Spoils a U.S. Program to Round Up Wild Horses” and appeared in the New York Times. (Wow, the Times, why can’t I get anything in the Times. Oh, yeah, we write the truth, that was a no brainer.)

The title alone drips with “suck-upidness” (new word I just invented) and immediately alerts a self-actualized reader that the facts and content will be slanted; as in downhill and south to the feds. (Doink, no need to read further.)

"I is a Pickle!" ~ Bolstad

“I is a Pickle!” ~ Bolstad

The article begins with BLM wild horse program’s lead, Dean Bolstad, pushing back his ole cowboy head and saying “ I love seeing this,” (horses in holding) while lamenting on how the horses are sinking his program. (This is the federal employee who laid the groundwork, and whispered in the ears of the Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board, to KILL and MURDER all of the horses that are in holding…pure, unadulterated bull crap!)

And this good ole boy, who refers the 6th grade as his “senior” year, goes on to say that he and his crones have successfully removed 46,000 wild equines from their rightful range only to plunk then down on 60 private cattle ranches to the tune of $49 million dollars a year…duh.

“We’re in a real pickle,” he continues. Hey, you are not in a real pickle, you ARE the real pickle because it is obvious that your mind is either infused with large amounts of vinegar or embalming fluid as this is a trumped up artificial fiscal emergency of YOUR OWN MAKING you twit. (I know that I am shouting insults but this article is so riddled with stupid that it is difficult to get from one sentence to the next.)

Case in point, Philipps gets a private tour of a secret long term holding contractor, Robert Hughes, in Oklahoma. When was the last time an advocate got a private tour and poor old Bobby says he has, allegedly, 4,000 horses on his land and only making 2 bucks a day for his lack of effort. WHAT, 8 thousand a day for horses grazing…10 days that is 80 thousand and for a month your looking at almost a quarter of million!  (I feel sooo sorry for Bobby. Life is a bitch and then you profit from the feds, I know it is rough but someone has to do it.)

Next ole Philipps interviews two of the newest members of the BLM’s special interest advisory board who voted to KILL all of the horses. “Oh, the devastation to the range is so severe that something has to be done,” they read from their scripts but even the idiot article dummy downs the numbers to confess to the fact that wild equines are out numbered by federally subsidized welfare cattle at the conservative ratio of 10 to 1.

Did you get that? Private, government subsidized cattle out number protected wild equines to the tune of 10 to 1 (they let that slip, must have been a mind fart)…and the range is being overgrazed by horses and burros? And, to add injury to insult, the government pays millions of dollars to take the small number of horses off from their rightful range to put them where, on CATTLE RANCHES.

Is it just me or is there an easy fix, here? Shouldn’t we let the small herds of horses stay on the range, at zero cost, and put cattle on the cattle ranches, again at no cost, and everyone comes out a winner? Oh, stupid me, it is all about double dipping and the welfare ranchers making money on both ends of the stick. Graze on public land for next to nothing and making big money putting former wild horses on your cattle ranch.  (it’s a win/win, honey.)

But Philipps does not see it, he rambles on with poison quotes and incorrect numbers with only a few conciliatory comments from advocates. More mainstream misinformation to the public and the scariest point of all this is that the public believes it. “Well it was in the Times and on the Internet wasn’t it? It’s gotta be true!”

So the war against wild horses and burros rages on as the government, cattle ranchers and their journalistic stooges collude to rid, kill and destroy the few remaining viable herds that still exist on our public lands. (Philipps is a war correspondent by trade, and it shows, here.)

How do we fight back, you ask? Stay informed, stay vigilante and tell everyone that you know about the Fed’s mission to destroy the horses and burros on behalf of their special interest bedfellows. And above all, be certain to inform them not to believe everything that they read as much of it is delivered by henchmen like Philipps who wouldn’t know what an original idea was if it hit him alongside the head.

Ride on, Davey, and take your BLM buddies with you as nothing would make the equine advocates of the world happier than to see the whole lot of you ride off into the sunset, for good.

See ya, wouldn’t wanna be ya!!!!

R.T. Fitch is a author, blogger and out spoken equine advocate who is noted for having no opinion on anything of consequence; as is evident, here

Another Big Landmark Win for Wyoming’s Wild Horses! Checkerboard Ruling Overturned by Federal Appeals Court

Source: Carol Walker as published on WildHoofBeats

Landmark Appellate Court Decision Stops BLM Wyoming Wild Horse Wipeout

Ruling Blocks Agency from Treating Over 1 Million Acres of Public Lands as Private Lands in Pursuit of Wild Horse Roundups

Denver, CO (October 14, 2016) . . . The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit today issued a landmark decision that stops the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) from wiping out wild horses from over one million acres of public land in the Wyoming Checkerboard. The ruling holds that BLM violated two federal laws in its conduct of a 2014 wild horse roundup that removed over 1,263 wild horses from the area, and means that the agency’s plan to round up 500 more horses from the Checkerboard beginning on October 18 is also illegal. Plaintiffs American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign, The Cloud Foundation, Return to Freedom, photographers Carol Walker, Director of Field Documentation for Wild Horse Freedom Federation, and Kimerlee Curyl and their attorney, Bill Eubanks of Meyer, Glitzenstein and Eubanks, are hailing the decision and its precedential implications for wild horse management throughout the western United States.

“This ruling throws a wrench into the backroom deal between the BLM and livestock grazing interests to eliminate federally protected wild horses from over one million acres of public land in Wyoming,” Eubanks said. “With this landmark decision, the Tenth Circuit has permanently stopped the BLM from treating public lands as private and eliminating wild horses from public lands based on a request from private landowners. This sets a major legal precedent across the West and protects wild horses from ranchers who want to eliminate these iconic animals from our public lands in order to put even more domestic cattle and sheep on these public lands to the detriment of the ecosystem.”

In its ruling issued today, the Tenth Circuit held that “the BLM violated both the [Wild Free Roaming Horses and Burros] Act and FLPMA [Federal Land Policy Management Act] in carrying out the 2014 removal of wild horses from the Checkerboard.” The appellate court reversed the 2015 lower court ruling upholding BLM’s actions in the 2014 Checkerboard wild horse roundup.

Today’s decision is a closing chapter in an ongoing legal battle over the BLM’s plan to eradicate wild horses from a two million acre area of public and private land at the request of the Rock Springs Grazing Association (RSGA). The RSGA owns or leases the private land blocks in the Checkerboard and views wild horses as competition for taxpayer subsidized livestock grazing on the public lands in the area.

Last week, the plaintiffs filed another lawsuit to block the agency from proceeding with the next Checkerboard roundup, set to begin on October 18.

This is the third major legal victory for the groups in just over a month. Earlier this week,the Tenth Circuit threw out a lawsuit by the State of Wyoming to compel the BLM to remove hundreds of wild horses from non-checkerboard public lands in that state. In a precedential ruling, the Tenth Circuit held that the BLM is not required to remove wild horses from public lands just because their populations exceed outdated population limits.

Major Victory for Wild Horses – Federal Appeals Court Denies Wyoming’s Appeal Against Wild Horses

Source: Carol Walker as published on WildHoofBeats.com

“This is a major precedential victory that will have important implications for federal wild horse policy for decades to come,”

For Immediate Release

View online here.

Major Victory for Wild Horses: Federal Appeals Court Tosses State of Wyoming’s Anti-Mustang Lawsuit


DENVER, CO (October 11, 2016) . . . Today, the U.S. Court of Appeals Tenth Circuit upheld a lower court’s dismissal of a lawsuit filed by the State of Wyoming against the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) seeking the removal of hundreds of wild horses from public lands across the state. The American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign (AWHPC), The Cloud Foundation, Return to Freedom, Carol Walker, Director of Field Documentation for Wild Horse Freedom Federation and wild horse photographer Kimerlee Curyl were granted the right to intervene in the case and filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit against the BLM.

At issue in the case, first filed in 2014, were wild horses in the Antelope Hills, Crooks Mountain, Green Mountain, Lost Creek, Stewart Creek, Fifteenmile and Little Colorado Herd Management Areas (HMAs) in Wyoming.

The Tenth Circuit held, “We reject the State’s arguments… the [Wild Horse] Act does not define the phrase “appropriate management level” and thus does not equate it with any requirement to remove excess animals from a particular HMA… the BLM is under no statutory duty to remove animals from the seven HMAs at issue.”

“This is a major precedential victory that will have important implications for federal wild horse policy for decades to come,” said Bill Eubanks of the public interest law firm Meyer, Glitzenstein and Eubanks, which represented the intervenors in this case.

“The appellate court has clearly affirmed two important issues – first that wild horse populations in excess of the BLM’s arbitrarily established ‘appropriate’ management levels do not equate with overpopulation, and second that the BLM is not required to remove wild horses from the range even if it determines an overpopulation exists,” Eubanks continued. “Rather the agency has broad discretion to implement other management approaches, including implementation of fertility control to humanely reduce population growth rates and reduction in livestock grazing within HMAs.”

Eubanks said that this precedential decision will impact similar pending cases at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and in U.S. District Court in Utah, and should serve as a deterrent to other states, including Nevada, considering litigation to compel the federal government to round up and remove thousands of wild horses from Western public lands.

The State of Wyoming lawsuit sought the removal of hundreds of wild horses from public lands in Wyoming, a state in where just 6,500 wild horses remain on 3.2 million acres of BLM-managed land. By contrast, hundreds of thousands of domestic cattle and sheep graze 18 million acres of BLM land in the state. Put another way, wild horses are present in Wyoming on just 2 percent of the BLM land grazed by livestock.

Eubanks is also representing the groups on separate litigation involving the BLM’s decision to wipe out wild horses from the Wyoming Checkerboard, a two million acre area of public and private land in the southern part of the state. The groups are awaiting a Tenth Circuit decision on a 2014 lawsuit and have filed new litigation challenging the BLM’s plan to conduct another Wyoming Checkerboard roundup, beginning as early as October 18.

New Lawsuit Filed to Stop BLM Wild Horse Roundup in Wyoming Checkerboard

Action Comes As Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals Considers Legality of BLM Decision to Eradicate Wild Horses from Public Lands in the Area

photo by Carol Walker

photo by Carol Walker ~ Director of Field Documentation for Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Cheyenne, WY (October 4, 2016) – The American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign (AWHPC), Return to FreedomThe Cloud Foundation, and photographers Carol Walker and Kimerlee Curyl filed suit yesterday in U.S. District in Wyoming against the BLM, challenging the agency’s decision to conduct another wild horse roundup in the Wyoming Checkerboard in the southern part of the state. The wild horse advocates are represented by Bill Eubanks of the public interest environmental law firm Meyer Glitzenstein & Eubanks LLP.

The lawsuit is the latest chapter in an ongoing legal battle against over the BLM’s plan to eradicate wild horses from a two million acre area of public and private land at the request of the Rock Springs Grazing Association (RSGS). The RSGA owns or leases the private land blocks in the Checkerboard and views wild horses as competition for taxpayer subsidized livestock grazing on the public lands in the area.

On September 19, 2016 the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments on the plaintiffs’ appeal of a lawsuit challenging the 2014 BLM Checkerboard roundup in which 1,260 wild horses were rounded up by helicopters and removed from the range. At issue in both cases is the legality of the BLM’s reliance on a request from private landowners to remove wild horses from private lands as an excuse to eradicate them from the public lands in the area as well. 

“The BLM is turning over control of more than one million acres of public land to private grazing interests that want wild horses eradicated from the range. This sets a terrible precedent that jeopardizes the safety and future of wild horses across the West,” said Suzanne Roy, Executive Director of AWHPC. 

“The BLM’s concession to wipe out wild horses in Wyoming is not only illegal, but a blatant slap in the face to the majority of Americans who want to enjoy wild horses on our public lands,” said Neda DeMayo, CEO of Return to Freedom. “We’re committed to upholding the law and protecting our wild horses and public lands from special interests who monopolize the resources there.”

“It doesn’t speak well of BLM, when the agency jumps the gun while the jury is, literally, still out on this issue,” states Ginger Kathrens, Executive Director of The Cloud Foundation. “Until the Checkerboard lands are consolidated into large blocks of private and public lands, this controversy will continue.”

“The BLM once again shows blatant disregard for both legal statutes and the wild horses in its care. We should not have to fight to protect our wild horses from the BLM,” said Carol Walker, who has extensively observed and photographed the wild horses in the Wyoming Checkerboard.

The latest lawsuit challenges the BLM’s decision to round up an estimated 550 wild horses from the Adobe Town, Salt Wells Creek and Great Divide Basin Herd Management Areas beginning on October 18. The plaintiffs will seek an injunction to prevent the BLM from beginning the roundup until the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals rules on the initial lawsuit.

Scandal at the BLM


(photo: Cadizinc.com)

SOURCE:  weeklystandard.com

Scandal at the BLM

Inside information, investors, and a pipeline plugged by politics.

by Jim Swift

Strange things are afoot at the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), an agency housed within the Department of the Interior tasked with managing the nation’s vast swaths of publicly held land.

The main character in this mystery is a not a person, but a proposed pipeline intended to bring water from remote aquifers in the Mojave desert to drought-stricken southern California. Named the Cadiz project, it’s a privately owned venture that has been in regulatory limbo for over a decade—the work of the buzzsaw that is Senator Dianne Feinstein, who has pulled out all the stops to kill it. (You can read my earlier story on that here.)

Feinstein has used her clout on the Appropriations Committee to successfully insert a policy rider into law each and every year to specifically delay or deny the ability of the Cadiz project to move forward, running roughshod over her state’s House delegation (including Democrats), many of whom want the project to go forward.

The debate is over whether or not a proposed water pipeline within the right-of-way of a railroad that crosses over public lands “furthers a railroad purpose” and whether it has to get BLM approval. In the past, BLM pre-approval was not needed. Because of Feinstein’s urging, BLM withdrew a longstanding regulatory opinion and replaced it with one that “requires a fact specific case-by-case inquiry” for right-of-way use on BLM lands.

Despite this setback, Cadiz pushed forward and sought determination from BLM under the revised regulatory opinion.

And here’s where it gets fishy.

As the Wall Street Journal reported, a BLM employee routinely shared inside information about the Cadiz project’s future prospects with an investor at Whetstone Capital, a Kansas City firm that often short-sells publicly traded entities as part of its investment portfolio. That investor, Thomas McGannon, runs Whetstone’s investment research efforts. He exchanged a number of emails and phone calls with Erik Pignata, a realty specialist for BLM in California.

McGannon had a Freedom of Information Act Request (FOIA) pending with BLM, but repeatedly and persistently fished for more information from Pignata while it was being processed. Pignata is not a FOIA officer.

It appears, per WSJ’s reporting, that McGannon’s fishing expidition was successful:

“Does the green line go through BLM lands?” Mr. McGannon asked in a Sept. 9, 2014 email, referring to a map of the Cadiz project. “I was mostly just curious if an alternate route along the green line would require BLM approval.” Mr. Pignata responded later that day that the alternative route “almost certainly” does.

On Feb. 19, 2015, Mr. McGannon inquired if there has been “any movement on the project discussions since we last spoke?” Mr. Pignata replied: “No, we are formulating our evaluation with DOI legal staff.” The emails suggest the two chatted repeatedly over the phone.

On June 4 Mr. McGannon emailed “great to catch up” along with a link to a blog post “Strong Sell On Project Failure, Insider Enrichment, And Bankruptcy, Price Target $0” that eviscerated Cadiz. On September 23 Mr. McGannon asked if there was “any news likely this week?” Mr. Pignata replied: “I have a briefing w/ the almost-highest people in my agency tomorrow . . . No pressure or anything.” Mr. McGannon cheered him on: “You got it man!”

A week later, Mr. McGannon inquired into when an adverse ruling would be finalized: “Wont [sic] it be great when I don’t bother you anymore.” Mr. Pignata replied: “I have a feeling Cadiz, Inc. isn’t going anywhere . . . so you’ll get to keep bugging me.” Several of Mr. Pignata’s emails suggest an animus toward the Cadiz project.



BLM appoints Ed Roberson, former Asst. Dir. of Renewable Resources and Planning, as Utah State Director


 Edwin Roberson (photo:  St. George News)

Source:  BLM

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) announced today that it is appointing veteran BLM manager Edwin L. Roberson as the BLM Utah State Director, a key leadership position based in Salt Lake City.

Roberson, a 37-year career leader with the BLM, comes to the Utah post after serving as Director of the BLM National Operations Center in Denver, where he oversaw the Agency’s operational and technical support for information technology, finance, and human resources. Roberson also served in top leadership roles in New Mexico, and held senior level positions in Washington, D.C., including a seven-year tenure as the BLM Assistant Director for Renewable Resources and Planning, a position that oversees a number of BLM resource programs.

“Ed is a good listener, a proven coalition-builder and a natural leader. We are fortunate to have his experience and expertise in Utah,” said BLM Director Neil Kornze. “Ed has guided some of the agency’s most important work during his career, and his experience working with local communities makes him the perfect fit for this job.”

As BLM Utah State Director, Roberson will lead a team that administers 23 million acres of public lands and 32 million acres of minerals and energy resources in Utah. BLM public lands in Utah feature some of the most spectacular scenery in the world, from snow-capped peaks of remote mountain ranges to colorful red-rock canyons. They offer a unique combination of archaeological, paleontological, and geological resources along with unmatched opportunities for many outdoor recreation activities. Roberson begins his new job October 3rd.

Roberson has a Bachelor of Science in Business and a Master’s in Urban and Regional Planning, earning both degrees from Auburn University. He and his wife Mary have two grown children and four grandchildren. Roberson is a jogger who enjoys all types of outdoor recreation.


Wild Horse & Burro Advocate Hits Back at Bogus BLM Numbers and Bad Math

“In response to a recent Elko Daily Free Press article, which was biased and riddled with BLM BS and propaganda, a wild horse & burro advocate comments in an attempt to set the record straight.  Said comment is worthy of being repeated…many times over!” ~ R.T.


BLM's war on America's wild horses and burros at Antelope Valley, 2011 ~ photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

BLM’s war on America’s wild horses and burros at Antelope Valley, 2011 ~ photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

“Fraudulent Growth Rates: Three herds were featured on the Advisory Board’s tour — Antelope Valley, Goshute, and Spruce Pequop. A review of BLM’s alleged growth figures for those herds showed biologically-implausible increases. From a combined total of 1,440 wild horses in 2013, BLM claimed the herds grew to 3,025 wild horses by 2016, a 110% increase. That would mean a 37% average growth rate, which is 740% times the norm. Moreover, if given a 37% growth rate, then to overcome foal mortality (50%) and adult mortality (5%), the average birth rate would have to have been 84% — which is 420% times the norm. The advisory board members unknowingly “drank the Kool Aid” — they swallowed BLM’s propaganda. Truth be told, the range they toured had been degraded by livestock, which outnumber those few wild horses by a ratio of 100 to 1.

Allotments Not Necessarily Rested: Just because allotments are listed as officially rested from livestock-grazing does not mean they actually are. BLM lets ranchers self-report whether they run cattle or not, and then bills them accordingly. So, if grazing permit-holders don’t report use, BLM doesn’t bill them, and declares the allotments to be in “voluntary non-use.” Conditions are egregious in Nevada, where permittees have defied BLM’s authority to rest allotments from grazing. Ranchers went ahead and put cattle out on the range anyway, despite the drought, and then tried to get the local BLM Field Manager fired. But instead of penalizing the scofflaws, BLM administrators pandered to them, waiving fines and allowing the illegal grazing to continue. Even when BLM tried to enforce the rules, politics blocked those efforts. For instance, a particularly-rebellious permittee openly grazed his cattle beyond the authorized season, running up nearly $30,000 in fines for repeated and ongoing willful trespass. But one of his US Senators asked BLM’s Director to reduce the charge to simple trespass — which he did — and to lower the fine — which he also did — to $6,000.

Wild horses are underpopulated: Per BLM’s own geneticist, 83% of wild-horse herds suffer from arbitrary management levels (AMLs) set below minimum-viable population. For instance, the AML for Oregon’s Beaty’s Butte herd restricts the stocking-density to 1 wild horse per 7 square miles. Imposing such a low density is absurd, but it is done for a purpose. Because by inflating the numbers to make it seem as if there are 2 wild horses per 7 square miles, then BLM can technically declare an “overpopulation” and cite the herd for being at “double the number” that the preposterous AML allows. Please note that, in contrast, BLM authorizes 119 cattle per 7 square miles. After eliminating 99% of the Beaty’s Butte herd, BLM replaced the wild horses with cattle to accommodate a rancher, who had secured a contract to supply grass-fed beef to an upscale grocery chain.

Wild burros are also underpopulated: Again, per BLM’s own geneticist, 90% of wild burro herds suffer from AMLs set below minimum-viable population. For instance, the AML for Arizona’s Black Mountain herd restricts the stocking-density to 1 burro per 4 square miles. The idea that 1 little burro would need 4 square miles of range is just silly, particularly because BLM authorizes 68 cattle per 4 square miles. But, as with the wild horses, by exaggerating the figures to make it seem as if there are 2 burros per 4 square miles, then BLM can call the herd “overpopulated” and point to their being at “twice the AML.”

Save Money, Save Lives: The Wild Horse and Burro Program, if run correctly — that is, per the minimum-feasible management-model specified by Law — would be cost-effective. BLM does not lack for resources. There are 22 million acres of legally-designated herd areas — which BLM previously took away for administrative convenience and political expediency. That land can and should be reopened as habitat. The wild horses and burros now held captive can then be released to those areas, where the cost of their upkeep will be $0.” ~ Mary Beth Delvin