Antelope & Triple B Complexes Gather Plan Public Comments Submitted
Here’s what CAES Board member There Barbour had to say about the gather:
Dear Marc Wells,
Thank you for allowing us to submit a comment, and I do hope you accept this one as it is coming to you after a power outage, a bit late.
The EA does not give the history of each complex, including what the original HMA’s included in it were, and how many were zeroed out, or the authority that decision was based on. You state that the complexes ‘portions located in various areas, were established by RMP’s designed to fulfill a multiple use mandate. We find that the Wild horse and burro areas designated as a result if the WFRHBA of 1971 we to be sanctuaries, or preserves that were to be managed principally for wild horses and/or burros. So designing the RMP for any portion of the original HA’s or WHT’s based on multiple use, in the FLPMA is a failure to follow that law completely, as statements in FLPMA and more specifically in PRIA do not allow for multiple use to override a preexisting land use plan. Therefore, the RMP’ are invalid, flawed, and need to be redone before any EA to consider a round up or removal.
The Complex creation, based on HMA’s which we already small portions of the original HA’s designated as preserves has created an opportunity to adjust AML’s and this has been done in the form of lower AML’s. We find that BLM did not have the authority to dispose of or zero out herd areas, nor did they have the authority to designate small portions within larger areas (HA’s) and confine wild horses to merely those smaller HMA’s. And we find that then wild horses are further squeezed out of their land by then applying multiple use plans for even those HMA’s.
We assert that one alternative that should have been, but was not considered was to repatriate lands that were removed from the original HA or HA’s within the project areas. And a hard look is taken at what animals are on the land, and assessing a big picture look at what species are there and what species could be contributing to land degradation. No such studies have ever been done, but wild horses are blamed for damage with multiple use plans, where livestock are, other wildlife are, and to make the statement that we are removing the 1 horse, but not the 37 livestock (ratio of horse: livestock on public lands), and not considering the number of other wildlife species that may contribute to the land health is not a responsible land management decision.
We also feel that the BLM dismisses fertility control through PZP, and the use of volunteers to administer the vaccines and keep records. When the claim has been made that care of wild horses and burros in the holding areas and off range long term holding are costing too much of the budget, you must also find that it is not fiscally sound to remove nearly 7,000 wild horses and add them to the 50,000 wild horses currently in holding. An increase of 14% of what is there now. You have not provided the budget plan to care for the horses in holding if this plan is implemented. Where will they be shipped, housed, at what expense, and where is that money going to come from when the budget now, and the proposed FY 2018 budget certainly do not have room for horses removed on this scale that will need ongoing human care for the rest of their lives as very few are adopted?
The EA needs to consider the Human impact, and that means with the gather, of this huge numbers being removed, will have a profound impact on the people, on tourism, and the overall genetic survival of the herds.. The population claims made of 20 – 25% are not supported by your pdf census files, and a REAL Inventory has not been done. The should be no roundup for removals until those real inventories are done.
The EA states there is heavy to severe utilization on key forage, and degradation of water sources. The EA must include an analysis of how many of each species was also on the land, how long ago did livestock get removed, and did the land have adequate time to rest before the horses were blamed for the damage. You claim in the EA that wild horses exceed forage allocated them, again we assert there is no proof of what may have eaten the forage when there has never been a study of all species on the land done concurrently and for a full year to include season species movement.
“4710.4 Management of wild horses and burros shall be undertaken with the objective of limiting the animals’ distribution to herd areas.” Notice the distribution of horses limited to HA’s not HMA’s.
And again, we remind you they are on a minute portion of the original lands set aside as preserves, and even in this dwindled down acreage must be managed, according to the BLM, by using Multiple Use plans. This is incorrect unless the lands were disposed of by going through proper consultation, and citing the specific legal basis for removing these lands from the program, or by citing the legal basis for zeroing out a herd where the law clearly mandated managing for them principally and WHERE they were in 1971.
“The Interior Board of Land Appeals (IBLA) in Animal Protection Institute et al., (118 IBLA 75 (1991)) found that under the Wild Free-Roaming Horses And Burros Act of 1971 (Public Law 92-195) “excess animals” must be removed from an area in order to preserve and maintain a thriving natural ecological balance and multiple-use relationship in that area.” How does the finding in the WY Case recently where the court ruled that BLM’s arbitrary AML’s do not in themselves constitute EXCESS?
There is no mention of the property loss to the American public who owns the horses. How this plan to remove over 10% of the wild horses left in the wild seriously decreases the value and protection of these resources. And the 80% of Americans who want them protected are not having their wishes listened to by those we have entrusted to care for and protect our wild equines and our public lands.
Again, an EIS must be done taking all of this into account. And then a new EA must be done based on findings in the EIS.
CAES suggests the following Alternative :
On Range Wild Horse Management via predators or PZP only.
- Helicopter usage only for application of PZP, one band at a time, in the areas where native predators are unacceptable to the BLM, for reasons which the BLM should detail.
- Bait trapping one family at a time for the purpose of darting is also humane and feasible.
- Addition of predators in the most remote areas where the BLM refuses to utilize PZP.
- Cameras on the bottom of helicopters in all directions.
- mix 40 darts of PZP at one time,
- dart one family at a time for a short period,
- dartable PZP should be used.
The FLPMA and PRIA both state that multiple use policies were to be used to determine land uses, however it also stated it would not override any other land use policy.
Sec. 101. [43 U.S .C . 1701 note] This Act may be cited as the
“Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976”. DECLARATION OF POLICY Sec. 102. [43 U.S.C . 1701] (a) The Congress declares that it is the policy of the United States that– (b) The policies of this Act shall become effective only as specific statutory authority for their implementation is enacted by this Act or by subsequent legislation and shall then be construed as supplemental to and not in derogation of the purposes for which public lands are administered under other provisions of law.
- 43 U.S. Code Chapter 37 – PUBLIC RANGELANDS IMPROVEMENT ACT of 1978
- (a) The Congress finds and declares that—
- (c) The policies of this chapter shall become effective only as specific statutory authority for their implementation is enacted by this chapter or by subsequent legislation, and shall be construed as supplemental to and not in derogation of the purposes for which public rangelands are administered under other provisions of law.
- Mountain States v. Hodel found that the 1971 law is in fact a land-use regulation; “In structure and purpose, the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act is nothing more than a land-use regulation enacted by Congress to ensure the survival of a particular species of wildlife. At the outset, it is important to note that wild horses and burros are no less “wild” animals than are the grizzly bears that roam our national parks and forests.
- “Herd areas meet the critical habitat criteria set for ACECs. 1610.7-2 Designation of areas of critical environmental concern or ACEC, is a special designation created by Congress in the 1976 Federal Land Policy and Management Act. That law directed the Secretary of the Interior and the BLM to designate as ACECs: “…areas within the public lands where special management attention is required… to protect and prevent irreparable damage to important historic, cultural and wildlife resources. The horses on our public lands have been determined to be wildlife in many court cases, Kleppe v NM, WHOANM V NMLB and above in Mountain States v. Hodel as well as by Congress in the 1971 Act itself!! Let us remember how many people supported the 1971 Act. Hence these are legally wild horses. Many tribes also consider these wild horses as wild, as well as cultural historic properties under both federal and state Historic Preservation Acts.Just as BLM did not and does not have the authority to micro-manage areas within the Herd Area, it also did not have congressional authority to combine Herd Areas or preserves to create complexes.
Respectfully Submitted this 21st day of August 2017.
Theresa J Barbour
Citizens Against Equine Slaughter
PO Box 115, Drain, Oregon 97435