photo by Carol Walker of Wild Horse Freedom Federation and Living Images
The Bureau of Land Management is investigating the shooting of five wild horses in south-central Wyoming’s Red Desert, the agency said in a statement last week.
Three horses were found shot in early November and two more in mid-January in a similar location.
“Preliminary findings suggest all five horses were shot,” the statement said.
The horse were found both on Green Mountain and near the Three Forks/Atlantic City Road in the Pickett Lake area. The BLM is working with the Fremont County Sheriff’s Department and the Wyoming Game and Fish Department to investigate the incident.
Wild horses and burros are protected under federal law, and the BLM is responsible for managing the animals on government land. The animals have been the source of controversy in Wyoming, with the BLM finding itself at the center of disputes between the State of Wyoming, the livestock industry and environmentalist groups that support protecting the horses.
The livestock industry and the state government have argued that allowing the horses unfettered access to public lands where sheep graze is unreasonable while wild horse advocates have claimed that federal law mandates such access. The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals found last year that the BLM was illegally managing wild horses along the Interstate 80 corridor in southern Wyoming by treating public land as if it were private.
Anyone with information about the shootings is asked to contact BLM officer Thomas Howell at 307-332-8469.
The emperor of the outdoors rode into town on a horse named Tonto, and soon demanded that his own special flag fly outside his headquarters whenever he was in Washington.
He believes fracking is proof that “God loves us” and, despite being from Montana, doesn’t know how to properly set up his fly line when fishing in front of the cameras.
“He had rigged his reel backward,” Elliott D. Woods wrote of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke in a wonderful profile in Outside Magazine. “Seems like an inconsequential thing, but in Montana, it’s everything.”
As it turned out, it was quite consequential. When the magazine next tried to dial into an Interior conference call, it was denied access.
You may think that Stormy Daniels is in charge of the natural world under Donald Trump. And yes, the boorish behavior of the president and the porn star makes for better reading than an account of the quack running Interior.
But if someone were trashing your house, you’d want to pay attention. And Trump, using the very strange Zinke, is going after the sacred foundations of America’s much-loved public lands, brick by brick.
Zinke has been called the Gulfstream Cowboy for his love of using charter planes to fly off to the nesting grounds of wealthy donors. But he’s more like a mad king. And this monarch has control over the crown jewels of America’s public land.
They are not in safe hands.
Last month, the secretary attacked Patagonia, the outdoor retailer, after it protested the largest rollback of public land protection in our history with a website home page of a black screen and stark message: “The President Stole Your Land.”
It is your land, all 400 million acres of it, though you wouldn’t know by the way the Trump administration has ceded control to the private predators from the oil, gas, coal and uranium industries.
It is also your water, the near entirety of the outer continental shelf that Trump is opening to extractive drilling. Almost a dozen states have protested. The waters off the coast of Mar-a-Lago, in Florida, were given an exemption after Zinke met with the governor, who said drilling was bad for tourism. Your public servant at work.
Zinke is upending a century of bipartisan values as part of a Trumpian culture war. When asked why the president shrank national monuments in the Southwest by two million acres, Zinke said it was a way to strike back against “an elitist sort of hunter and fisherman.” Huh?
Could this be the same regular guy who took a helicopter to ride horses with Mike Pence? The cabinet member who wants to charge $70 to get into our most iconic national parks? The man whose nomination was championed by Donald Trump Jr., elephant killer and dictionary definition of elite hunter and fisherman?
Defenders of public land have pushed back. This week, a majority of the nonpartisan National Park Service advisory panel resigned in frustration. The board, federally chartered to help guide the service, said Zinke had refused to convene a single meeting with the members last year. Silly bird-lovers. Don’t they know you need to charter a plane for Zinke if you want to get his attention?
A much less-connected group, the Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, responded with an essay from a board member who lives in a 500-square-foot abode in the Rocky Mountains. “We hunt, gather, garden, can, smoke, dry, jelly and pickle as much of our own food as we can,” wrote Tom Healy. “According to Mr. Secretary, I am an elitist.”
The writer is from Whitefish, Zinke’s hometown in Montana. Where have you heard that before? Ah, yes, a tiny energy company from Whitefish with two employees — three if you count Zinke’s kid when he was an intern on a side project — finagled a $300 million, no-audit, no-bid contract to help rebuild Puerto Rico’s electric grid. Zinke said he had absolutely, positively nothing to do with it.
Look, it could have been worse: Sarah Palin was an early favorite for interior secretary. Zinke is an ex-Navy SEAL, and looks the part. Enough nutty things come out of his mouth to make him a perfect Trump guy.
“The government stops at the mailbox,” he said at a rally last year, “and if you come any further, you’re going to meet my gun.” Note to Mr. Secretary: Don’t shoot the sheriff, or the census taker.
It took a bribery scandal to bring down an interior secretary in the Teapot Dome affair of the 1920s. Today, the corruption is all upfront. Energy Secretary Rick Perry gives bear hugs to coal barons while doing all he can to have the government prop up their industry. The Environmental Protection Agency is now a wholly owned subsidiary of the polluters it is supposed to regulate.
Over at Interior, they haven’t yet figured a way to charge Americans for the air we breathe. But the next time Zinke’s flag is up, something may be in the works.
“Maybe Fox News Listened to the Voices of 80% of Americans“
Vegan Poster Boy – Dave ‘Doink” Duquette. Infamous horse hating proponent for murdering and eating equine friends and family.
Longtime proponent of murdering (processing) companion and wild equines (horses and burros) for perverse human consumption, Dave “Doink” Duquette was abruptly removed from the broadcast schedule of Fox News Tucker Carlson show on Friday, December 29th. A very sad moment for his horse hating lemmings but a moment of comic relief for the rest of the self-actualized human beings that inhabit this planet.
It appears that the mass objection to the appearance of this monosyllabic moron by normal, mainstream Americans may have been a force in Fox reconsidering the highlighting of a subject that is against the law in the United States and makes the skin crawl of even the hardiest soul.
Or…it might be that Tucker himself was on vacation and that he, personally, wants to chew on this horse hater and expose him for what he really is.
Either way, it has rekindled the compassionate soul of those who strive to build a better world for humans and equines alike.
“Mmmmm, this would be a nice cut”
I strongly recommend that motivated equine advocates continue to politely contact Tucker Carlson and Fox News and thank them for not allowing this dark lord of horse blood to spread his gore and untruths across the cable news wire. In reality, it was actually an act of kindness to Doink himself as he does not have the sense to realize that the intent of the interview/debate was to make him look like the raving idiot that he is. Unless he has received a crash course on verbal communication and removal of expletives from his vocabulary he would have crashed and burned within the first 10 seconds of the debate. (expletives = cussing, Dave)
Let’s hope that ole Doink crawls back into his hole with the rest of the weirdos that moan about trying to start an illegal business of killing and eating family and friends. Disgusting, to say the least.
We are a strong voice, a just voice as we represent over 80% of Americans and ALL of the voiceless horse nation…the horse haters are simply a small and perverse, fringe group of emotional cripples. May God have mercy on their twisted souls.
“Another installment in the Dinky Zinke Chronicles. This was published in 2014 and points to Dinky Zinke being a scum-ball and stealing from the American Tax Payers to go home and visit Mommy YEARS AGO. It appears that not a damn thing has changed and he obviously did not learn any lessons. If Capt Bailey only knew, back then, how bad things would get.
Like the other horse eaters before him, Dinky needs to go. Is ANYONE in the Administration listening out there?!?!?” ~ R.T.
“You gonna fly for FREE, baby!!!”
There have long been rumors about Senator Ryan Zinke’s tendency to both exaggerate his role as a Navy SEAL and to underplay the serious ethical violations that derailed his career, but given the privacy afforded those records, it’s always been difficult to detail the truth about Zinke’s career in the military.
Captain Larry Bailey, who commanded Zinke while he was in his SEAL class, recently wrote a letter detailing some of the problems with Zinke’s military career. What Bailey argues is what many of us who have watched Zinke’s career have also seen: “he is willing to do whatever it takes to reach the next level.”
In short, Bailey argues that Zinke misused Navy funds for personal travel and has inflated the importance of his role in Navy SEAL Team Six. Bailey writes, “He was never a commanding officer and was bypassed for possible consideration for promotion to captain as the result of his travel transgressions.”
No one here has questioned the value of Senator Zinke’s service to his nation in the military, but his tendency to inflate his own role and promote himself at the expense of the truth and even basic decency, has been the defining element of his political career.
Captain Bailey’s letter follows:
It is most unpleasant to write these words, as I have long considered myself a friend of Ryan Zinke. In fact, he was in the first Basic UDT/SEAL (BUD/S) class to graduate under my command in 1985. I remember him well and thought that he would have a stellar career.
He did have such a career until he showed a defect in his moral make-up, and the Left is already well aware of what he did, although perhaps not in so much detail as I go into. They will, however, before the general election, so I have decided to anticipate them by providing this statement.
This information was provided to me by sources personally known to me and to those who were directly involved in the actions involving Ryan.
What did he do? Simple—he used Navy (taxpayer) travel funds to make multiple trips from Norfolk, VA, to his home in MT, ostensibly to scout out training sites for his squadron. The truth was that he went to work on some family property and, apparently, on one occasion, took two or three other Navy SEALs with him.
These trips not only involved airfare, but they also involved per diem and personal use of Navy time. To his credit, Ryan, when confronted with his transgressions, admitted his culpability and paid back the funds he had expended.
Ryan’s moral failings, in my opinion, do not end with his being separated from his SEAL team over the travel scandal. His political career has some questionable acts associated with it, to include his creation (with some heavy-hitting New York and Boston lawyers and PR people) of Special Operations for America (SOFA), a Political Action Committee, back in early 2012. At that time, I sought out Ryan to work with me in establishing an umbrella organization of Special Operations Forces from all the services.
After looking carefully at the situation in which he was involved, I just didn’t feel comfortable getting hooked up with what was clearly going to be a high-donor operation and possibly geared to Ryan’s future political benefit. That has turned out to be the case, as evinced by the fact that, almost immediately after Ryan declared his candidacy for the US House, he resigned as SOFA’s chairman and was given a grant from the very Political Action Committee he established. That, to me, is not “conflict of interest;” it is “coincidence of interest.”
The account of what I have read about SOFA having its headquarters in property owned by the Zinke family that is across the street from the Zinke family home, further validates the “coincidence of interest” hypothesis.
As a retired Navy SEAL officer, I also take exception to the looseness with which Ryan described his Navy career. Depending on which bio one reads, he was “a” or “the” commander in a certain high-capability Navy SEAL Team. He was never a commanding officer and was bypassed for possible consideration for promotion to captain as the result of his travel transgressions.
He also has stated that former Cong. Allen West has endorsed his candidacy. I spoke with Colonel West personally and learned that, while he spoke kind words about Ryan, he did not endorse him. Subsequent to my conversation with him, Colonel West has made clear that that was not the case and will not be the case during the primary.
Having seen a heavily redacted copy of Ryan’s DD-214, which is a summary of his military career, I noted that, unlike his claim to have received two Bronze Stars for combat, he actually received them for meritorious service. Neither had the Combat “V” for Valor, which would have been the case had he earned the awards for combat.
The statement by a retired Navy SEAL Master Chief sums up the essence of Ryan’s character. The man told me personally that Ryan is PNG (persona non grata) at his old SEAL team, primarily for the misleading statements he has made about his rank and importance at that “special” team. That is a sad commentary on a man who had all the potential in the world and has, instead of coming clean about himself and his mistakes, tries to re-write his personal history in order to achieve political office.
I am certain that Ryan would have acquitted himself well if he had led his men in actual combat instead of being a theater manager of the combat units assigned to him.
I am sure that Ryan will do his best to rebut these serious allegations. He can prove me wrong by making his unredacted DD-214 available for public examination. I would like nothing better than to have been shown that I was wrong, but that won’t happen.
Why do I, a transplanted Texan living in NC, want to rupture more than one friendship over Ryan Zinke’s candidacy for the US House of Representatives? Simple—Ryan’s ambitions will not stop here. He has shown by his dissimulation of facts regarding his career that he is willing to do whatever it takes to reach the next level—in his case, the US Senate. I cannot abide that prospect, because THEN he is representing ME and every citizen of this land as a member of one of the world’s most prestigious deliberative bodies.
It is not with a personal grudge, whim or politically charged prejudiced that I write about newly appointed Secretary of the Interior Ryan “Dinky” Zinke but instead it is with an all too clear memory of where this political animal first crawled out from underneath his rock and embarrassed humanity by opening his mouth and exposing the stone cold heart that resides within the shell of his human body.
This man, and I use the term loosely, has been practicing for years to be the public, political egomaniac that he is today. Under investigation for multiple misuses of tax payer dollars, trying to shrink current national monuments and public land, walking back restrictions on sick trophy hunter imports, adorning his office with dead and murdered animals and most importantly to equine advocates, trying to strip the federal protections from our iconic wild horses and burros while promoting the slaughter of said equines for human consumption, the list is endless.
Late last year, when the name Zinke first floated to the surface as a possible appointee for the DoI slot, I immediately saw the greasy slick begin to form on the surface of that Cabinet Kettle and the stench brought back some ugly memories. All that is “Dinky” is not what it appears to be.
Below is just one of many articles that chronicle Zinke’s early political quest to butcher, slaughter and kill American horses; a concept abhorrent to over 80% of American citizens. It is just the first installment of a ‘look-back’ onto the man that is charged with protecting our public lands and all of the creatures that walk upon their cherished soil. It is unfathomable that such a reprehensible character has slithered his way into a position where he can now manipulate and collude with his special interest good ole boys to diminish all that is natural for the sake of money, power and ego.
Back in March of 2009 he gets in his quotes (below) and tells the world what to do with ‘old horses’.
This guy has got to go!
Horse Slaughter Bill Breaks Trail in Montana Senate
HELENA – Horse slaughterhouses might find a new home in Montana if a bill to spur their construction passes one more hurdle in the state Senate.
House Bill 418, which senators endorsed Thursday on a vote of 27-23, aims to rein in possible state court actions that might discourage construction of a horse slaughterhouse in Montana.
It follows the closure of the country’s last slaughter facility in DeKalb, Ill., after the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld an Illinois law prohibiting slaughter of horses for human consumption.
After one more successful vote in the Senate, the measure introduced by Rep. Ed Butcher, a Republican horse owner from a central Montana farming community, would move to the governor’s desk.
In Thursday’s Senate debate, the bill’s passage was hitched to Montana’s roots as a Western ranching state, with supporters urging fellow lawmakers to view horses as livestock that can outlive their commercial purpose.
“This is horse country, and it’s good horse country, and there’s a heritage there that we don’t want to lose,” said Sen. Rick Ripley, R-Wolf Creek.
Without a nearby slaughter facility, supporters said, the abandonment of old, sick or injured horses will likely increase as the country slumps further into the hardships of an economic recession.
“When a horse is too old to breed, too old to ride, or too expensive to feed, a horse is disposed of,” said Sen. Ryan Zinke, R-Whitefish, who carried the bill in the Senate.
As it stands now, old horses can be set out to pasture in a handful of equine shelters in the state, or disposed of through euthanasia — options that some Montanan horse owners cannot afford, according to those who wish to see a slaughter facility in the state.
The bill’s opponents, however, bridle at the suggestion that slaughterhouses somehow align with the customs of a state where self-reliance is a core value.
“Yes, we’re in tough economic times, but I was raised like most of you to take personal responsibility for the decisions you make, including the decision to own a horse,” said Sen. David Wanzenried, D-Missoula.
The legal protections the bill would give slaughter companies have also prompted criticism.
“I don’t think there’s a business that we give a blank check to that says no injunction,” said Sen. Rick Laible, R-Darby, one of two Republicans voting against the bill.
The bill would require those challenging a slaughter facility permit to post a bond worth 20 percent of its construction costs. It would also prohibit courts from halting construction of a facility once it’s been approved by the state.
Other states where horses play a vital role in the economy have also recently considered studying the impact of opening slaughter facilities, and legislation is afoot elsewhere that asks Congress to support states’ rights to regulate horse transport and slaughter.
Most of it, though, is directed at a bill pending in Congress that would prohibit transporting across U.S. borders horses that would be killed for meat, effectively removing Canada and Mexico as slaughter destinations.
If a slaughterhouse were to open in Montana, old horses from other states could be brought here for processing, with the meat going to overseas market and other byproducts used in things like glue — a prospect that some argue would sully Montana’s reputation, but not one that frightens those in favor of the measure.
“I don’t care about what Chicago or anybody else says. I care about what Montanans say,” Zinke said in his closing remarks.
“Zinke has apparently been tasked with dismantling every environmental safeguard he can…”
Dinky, “Hey, Horsy, I’m gonna have all your wild sisters and brothers SHOT and then we might even BBQ a couple, what do ya think of that?”
When Ryan Zinke was appointed Secretary of the Interior, I had no idea he was such a poser.
It bothered me a bit that he seemed to spend more time at his house in California than at his residence in Montana, but he was a decorated warrior and claimed to be a conservationist in the mold of Teddy Roosevelt.
I thought he might do a good job.
Then he showed up on horseback wearing a cowboy hat for his first day of work and I thought, hmmm, maybe not. This dude could be all hat.
I was right.
Instead of channeling Teddy Roosevelt, Zinke appears to be channeling another westerner, James Watt, Ronald Reagan’s Secretary of the Interior, who was known as an anti-environmentalist.
Zinke has apparently been tasked with dismantling every environmental safeguard he can, from reducing the size of national monuments to removing regulations on grazing land that protect sage grouse.
At least James Watt never claimed to be something he wasn’t.
Zinke would have us believe he’s a sportsman and actually cares about the land when it’s obvious he doesn’t. He’s simply a do-what-he’s-told kind of guy.
Zinke replaced Sarah Palin as the belle of the pro-development ball, dressed up like a little kid playing cowboy, his mantra little different than her shrill cry of “Drill, baby drill.”
Except he carries it off with a lot more pomp and circumstance. When Zinke is in his office — decorated with stuffed animals he didn’t kill on the walls — a flag is raised by a staffer. When he leaves, the flag is taken down.
Zinke also had a personalized coin minted to hand out to visitors. Secretaries of the Interior have had coins before, but never bearing their names.
I guess he didn’t want anyone to wonder who that clown in the cowboy hat is.
I wanted to think that a Montanan would do good things, would leave a legacy to be proud of, but Zinke is just paving the way to a high-paying lobbying job when his time as secretary comes to an end.
He’s kidding himself if he thinks in any way he embodies Teddy Roosevelt, an independent spirit and passionate hunter if there ever was one.
Zinke is a willing puppet of an administration that likes to dress him up like a cowboy and watch him dance.
He’s fine pretending he’s something he isn’t and seems to be fine with what he is — an embarrassment to Montana.
Oh, well. It won’t be long and he can move back to California.
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s actions show his priority is to fossil-fuels companies and whether they will be able to profitably access the public lands they’ve long relied on for cheap natural resources.
‘Dinky’ Zinke, “I’ve had a hankering to slaughter those wild horses and burros for years. Just check my past record, it speaks for itself you turkeys.”
Shortly after taking office in March, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke declared his department would work on increasing access to America’s public lands. This sounded laudable — of course it should be easier for Americans to visit and enjoy our forests, mountains, deserts and rivers. But there was a catch: Secretary Zinke wasn’t really interested in making it easier for families to visit our public lands, only in greasing the skids for the industries that exploit those same lands.
Last week the National Park Service announced it intends to raise the entrance fees at the 17 most popular national parks to $70 per vehicle starting next year. This would almost triple the entry fee to Mount Rainier and Olympic national parks, the two parks in our state that would be impacted. The price of a weeklong entry pass for a noncommercial vehicle would go up to an astounding $70 under the proposal, from the current $25.
This proposal, if implemented, will be a de facto barrier to entry for many of us wishing to visit some of the country’s grandest landscapes. National Parks visitation already skews whiter and older than the general population. The Interior Department has acknowledged this must change if our national park system is to remain relevant. But raising entrance fees by 180 percent will only further skew the demographics of park visitation.
Two other moves by Zinke show he is worried whether fossil fuels companies will be able to profitably access the public lands they’ve long relied on for cheap natural resources.
Back in March, Zinke rescinded the federal moratorium on coal leases on public land. The halt had no effect on existing coal leases or mining but prohibited the Interior Department from offering new leases. The moratorium had been put in place last year by Sally Jewell, the previous Interior Secretary under President Barack Obama, so that the department could evaluate coal’s impact on climate change (40 percent of U.S. coal comes from public lands).
Zinke, however, scoffed at the notion of a societal cost of carbon and claimed the moratorium was unnecessary. He quickly cleared this impediment to coal companies’ access to the resource under public lands.
Then, in August, he repealed an Obama administration rule that ended a scam coal, oil and gas companies had long relied on to make deceitfully small royalty payments to the federal treasury.
The rule put an end to the practice of these companies extracting natural resources from public lands, selling the resources to affiliated companies at artificially small markups, and then having the affiliates resell the materials at a substantially higher price. Royalties paid to the public were calculated on the low initial sales price to the affiliates rather than on the price of the resource on the open market.
After receiving “numerous comments from the regulated community,” Zinke repealed the rule. Fossil-fuels companies can once again shortchange the public out of its royalties.
What truly rankles about Zinke’s selective concern for public-lands access is that the additional revenues raised from jacking up park entrance fees would be more than lost by canceling the rule that had fixed the royalty scam. Interior estimates higher entrance fees would raise an additional $70 million, while Taxpayers for Common Sense has calculated lost annual revenue from reopening the royalty loophole at $75 million.
We can expect to see more examples of this one-sided concern for public lands access. Last month came reports that President Donald Trump will follow through on Zinke’s recommendation to shrink Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments. Shrinking the monuments would open up additional public lands to fossil-fuels development while doing nothing to make those lands more accessible to the general public.
Be aware, when Zinke talks of improving public access to federal lands, he has an extremely narrow subset of the public in mind.
What can we do? The good news is there’s still time for the public to fight back the proposed fee increase, as the National Park Service is taking comments until Nov. 23. More broadly, Congress needs to prohibit the Department of the Interior from giving special access to the fossil-fuels industries through rules that enable and encourage profiteering on our public lands.
“It started with trying to legalize horse slaughter plants in his home state and has only gone down hill from there…”
Dinky Zinke asks; “Filly Fillet in this hand and Bucking Bronc Burger in this hand, which would you pick?”
A controversial contract benefiting a small company based in his hometown is only the latest possible corruption scandal linked to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, who has come under fire for his spending habits as well as his connections to special interests and potential misuse of campaign funds.
On Monday, nonprofit watchdog group the Campaign Legal Center (CLC) accused Zinke’s dormant congressional campaign of dodging rules prohibiting individuals from converting political donations into individual revenue. According to an official Federal Election Commission complaint, the campaign allegedly purchased an RV from Zinke’s wife, then sold it to a friend at a steeply discounted price a year later, lowering the car’s price from $59,100 to $25,000. The recipient, Ed Buttrey, is a Montana state senator rumored to be in the running to be nominated Interior assistant secretary.
The CLC cited the RV sale along with Zinke’s earlier hotel stays in the Virgin Islands and New York — trips he took on the Interior Department’s dime — as possible efforts to skirt federal contribution campaign rules.
“When you combine the disregard for campaign finance laws when Zinke was a candidate with the disregard that Zinke as Interior secretary has shown for the ethics laws, you certainly get a picture of an individual who may not be taking his responsibilities as an officeholder seriously,” said Brendan Fischer, who submitted the complaint on behalf of the CLC.
Zinke’s other ethical close-calls, as the CLC noted, are plentiful.
Last week, a two-person for-profit private company from Zinke’s hometown of Whitefish, Montana secured a $300 million contract to help rebuild Puerto Rico. The U.S. territory has struggled for over a month following a devastating hurricane and much of the island stills lacks access to power and water. But many officials questioned the decision to award Whitefish Energy Holdings the contract and even the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) criticized the deal. The company eventually lost the contract amid “significant concerns” about its ability to adequately perform necessary relief work, as well as increasing scrutiny and calls from Puerto Rico’s governor, Ricardo Rosselló, to cancel the deal. An audit of the deal is underway on both a federal and local level.
Zinke has denied any connection to the contract, blaming the growing scandal on coastal elitism and a bias against small towns.
“Any attempts by the dishonest media or political operatives to tie me to awarding of influencing any contract involving Whitefish [Energy Holdings] are completely baseless,” Zinke continued. “Only in elitist Washington, D.C., would being from a small town be considered a crime.”
But the Whitefish controversy has very little to do with the small town roots of Whitefish Energy Holdings and far more to do with alarm over possible corruption. Zinke has been connected to a number of other scandals — many of them ongoing and drawing increasing scrutiny.
Zinke himself has taken an apathetic approach to climate change and environmental protection on a broader level. He has called the Paris climate agreement — signed by virtually every country in the world apart from embattled Syria — a “badly negotiated deal” and has supported Trump’s decision to leave the landmark decision. He has also questioned the impact of climate change — claiming that “no models” exist proving the phenomenon’s impact on the planet — and sought to heavily downsize national monuments, despite outcry from activists and indigenous tribes.
As a Montana congressman, Zinke took thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from oil and gas companies, many of whom drill on the same public lands he now oversees. Zinke received a total of $345,000 between 2013 and 2017 from donors like these, with one oil-and-gas executive giving the now-secretary as much as $11,600, according to Federal Election Commission data. These numbers have caused many to worry Zinke’s stances are being shaped by oil, gas, and coal lobbyists, as well as by climate skeptics more generally.
In March, Zinke also took a taxpayer-funded trip to the aforementioned U.S. Virgin Islands, where he attended a Republican Party fundraiser and donors paid up to $5,000 per couple for a photo with the secretary. That event was one of many Zinke attended with major donors and other political figures on Interior Department-funded trips, according to documents reviewed by Politico.
Earlier this month, 26 House Democrats wrote in a letter that Zinke’s trips “give the appearance that you are mixing political gatherings and personal destinations with official business.” Other figures have also expressed concern — Zinke’s Virgin Islands trip, which are mentioned in its complaint, attracted CLC’s attention three weeks ago.
“This activity constitutes impermissible solicitation of political contributions if event organizers conditioned the opportunity to take a photograph with Secretary Zinke on paying a higher fee,” CLC’s senior director for ethics, Walter Shaub, wrote to the Justice Department’s Office of Special Council. Shaub requested a Hatch Act investigation in order to determine whether Zinke violated rules restricting federal employees from partisan political events and dealings.
Monday’s complaint comes amid a Special Counsel investigation into Zinke’s spending habits, as well as a separate investigation opened by Interior Department’s inspector general.
Audits into Puerto Rico’s canceled contract with Whitefish Energy Holdings are also ongoing.
“There needs to be a fairer distribution of resources—not more biased reports and recommendations aimed at capturing, removing or killing wild horses…”
On Thursday, the National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board recklessly voted to approve recommendations that call on the Bureau of Land Management to shoot tens of thousands of healthy wild horses and burros.
At its meeting in Grand Junction, Colorado, the advisory board recommended that BLM achieve its on-range population goal of 26,715 wild horses and burros while also phasing out the use of long-term holding facilities—both within three years.
If Congress allowed BLM to follow through on the independent board’s recommendations, that would mean the government shooting at least 90,000 healthy animals. The advisory board has no power to control policy.
The board also called for allowing international adoptions and sales, which have not been allowed before. During its deliberations, the board repeatedly referenced a proposal made by a private party to have American taxpayers pay to ship upwards of 20,000 wild horses to Russia—where they would serve as prey animals for big cats.
“Killing tens of thousands of wild horses and burros would be a betrayal of millions of taxpayers who want wild horses protected as intended in the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act and who have invested tens of millions of dollars in their care,” said Neda DeMayo, president of Return to Freedom Wild Horse Conservation.
“BLM has been tasked by Congress with the responsibility of protecting wild horses. The agency has failed over and over, wasting time on think tanks, challenge concepts and meetings that go nowhere instead of directing resources toward actually managing land, water and habitat on the range and building a robust volunteer effort to help with critical projects benefiting wild horses and other wildlife.”
BLM has been close to its Appropriate Management Level before, but the agency balked at using fertility control despite ample evidence that it was safe and effective. The number of wild horses on the range stood within 1,071 animals of BLM’s own population goal in 2007, yet even then the agency chose not to aggressively implement fertility control.
In fact, BLM has never spent as much as four percent of its Wild Horse & Burro Program budget on this safe, proven and humane solution for wild horse population control; instead, it spends upwards of 65 percent of its annual budget capturing, removing and warehousing animals.
Return to Freedom’s American Wild Horse Sanctuary was among the first of many projects to use fertility control with great success. It has used the vaccine PZP for 19 years with an efficacy rate of 91 to 98 percent.
Meanwhile, wild horses continue to be dramatically outnumbered on federal land by privately owned livestock, which graze there at a fraction of the cost that ranchers would pay on private property.
“A balance must be struck between ranching and mining interests and wild horses and other wildlife as part of a fair interpretation of BLM’s multiple-use mandate on the range,” said DeMayo. “There needs to be a fairer distribution of resources—not more biased reports and recommendations aimed at capturing, removing or killing wild horses.
“BLM and the U.S. Department of the Interior must stop catering to those who profit from public lands and manage them for all Americans. It is time to stop treating America’s wild horses and burros like an unwanted invasive species and start becoming real stewards by using the safe, proven and humane tools available, in keeping with the spirit of the Act and the will of the public.”
Polls have repeatedly shown that about 80 percent of Americans oppose horse slaughter and a similar percentage want to see wild horses protected.
A March 1 BLM estimate—made before this year’s foal crop—placed the on-range population of wild horses and burros at 72,674. As of August, the agency reported that 44,640 captured wild horses and burros were living in off-range facilities, including 32,146 on leased pastures referred to as long-term holding.
On Thursday, wild horse advocate Ginger Kathrens of the Cloud Foundation was the lone dissenting vote on recommendations that BLM achieve “Appropriate Management Level” of 26,715 in three years, close long-term holding in three years, and allow international sales and adoptions. She joined the others on the board in voting to recommend that BLM increase its funding of reversible fertility control to $3 million by fiscal year 2019, up from about $100,000 in 2017.
Kathrens noted that BLM’s arbitrarily set Appropriate Management Level is only about 1,000 wild horses and burros more than the estimated population at the time of the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act was signed. The law—which Congress passed unanimously—stated that wild horses and burros were “fast disappearing from the American scene.”
The advisory board’s recommendation would have BLM spend money saved on long-term holding on on-range management and increasing adoptions. Those adoptions would likely spare only a fraction of wild horses on the range or in holding from death. In 2017, BLM has adopted out only about 4,200 wild horses—its best total in years.
In September 2016, the advisory board voted to recommend destroying captive wild horses and removing all restrictions to their sale, which would allow buyers to purchase them on the cheap and transport them to Canada or Mexico for slaughter. Again, Kathrens was the lone “no” vote.
In July, the House Appropriations Committee approved an amendment to the Interior Appropriations bill that removed language that would bar BLM from killing healthy wild horses. The Senate Appropriations Committee could vote on its version of the Interior bill as soon as next week.
“It will take time, commitment and diligence—and a real plan—but we have science that clearly shows the path to a sustainable future for wild horses and burros,” DeMayo said. “It’s not going to happen overnight, but it must be done and it must start now. The American people need to rally and urge Congress to force BLM to humanely manage these iconic, federally protected animals on the range.”
It’s official, AGAIN, the BLM’s Wild Horse and Advisory Board recommends killing off Long Term Holding horses and any “excess” on the range…they even brainstormed about sending horses off to Russia to feed their Siberian Tigers.
Banner from America’s Wild Horse Advocates (AWHA) with Melissa Ohlsson, Vice President of AWHA as artist
Rumors abound on the internet but here are the ACTUAL recommendations by the puppets as reported to us:
Increase the budget in FY2019 to 3 million for reversible fertility control.
BLM Immediately (over the next three years) remove excess animals from the range to achieve AML.(MURDER)
Phase out long-term holding over the next three years. (MURDER)
Increasing funding to support successful adoption programs and on the range management, and consider possibilities for international adoptions.(MURDER)