Litigation

In July of 2016, CAES and other organizations filed suit to stop the BLM from experimenting on pregnant wild mares in the dusty holding pens in Hines, Oregon. The result was a win for the mares when BLM asked the Interior Board for Land Appeals to redact the Decision of Record because they no longer were pursuing the experiments. We knew the Administrative Appeal would stop them because these experiments were extreme animal cruelty under Oregon’s animal cruelty statutes, many mares would die, and foals would be aborted.

This is one of many cases CAES has fought for equines and we can’t do it without the ongoing support we get from all of you.

Michael A. Schoessler, Esq.
U.S. Department of the Interior
Office of the Regional Solicitor
805 SW Broadway, Suite 600 Portland, OR 97205
Telephone: 503-231-2140
Telefax: 503-231-2166
michael.schoessler@sol.doi.gov

Attorney for the Bureau of Land Management

UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
OFFICE OF HEARINGS AND APPEALS
INTERIOR BOARD OF LAND APPEALS


Citizens Against Equine Slaughter, et al., Appellants
IBLA No. 2016-243
DOI-BLM-OR-B000-2015-0055-EA
Wild Horses/Burros
Motion to Vacate and Remand


FACUTAL BACKGROUND

On June 24, 2016, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) issued a Decision Record
(DR) approving the initiation of sterilization research to be performed by Oregon State
University on wild mares that (1) have been previously determined by BLM to be “excess,” (2) have previously been removed from the range with no chance of returning to BLM public lands, and (3) are or will be temporarily housed at the BLM’s Wild Horse Corral Facility in Hines, Oregon. The DR was based on an Environmental Assessment (DOI-BLM-OR-B000-2015-0055 EA, April 25, 2016) (“EA”) and Finding of No Significant Impact (June 24, 2016) (“FONSI”), which were prepared pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”).

On July 29, 2016, BLM received a Notice of Appeal, Statement of Reasons, and Petition
for Emergency Stay (NOA/SOR/PFS) from four entities (collectively referred to as
“Appellants”): Citizens Against Equine Slaughter (“CAES”), Oregon wild Horse & Burro
Association (“OWHBA”), Central Oregon Wild Horse Coalition (“COWHC”), and Wild Equid League of Colorado (“WELC”). On August 4, 2016, BLM filed a motion to dismiss all of the appeals due to improper representation and lack of standing. On August 19, 2016, BLM filed a response to the stay petition. According to BLM, the appeal period—based on the latest receipt of the certified mail copy of the DR that BLM sent out—ended on August 22,1 which would mean that the Board should issue its decision on the stay petition by October 6, 2016. 43 C.F.R. §§ 4.21(a)(3), (b)(4).

2 Two other appeals (with accompanying petitions for stay) challenging the DR were filed with the Board,  the Board granted BLM motions and dismissed both appeals, for lack of standing,  in separate orders on September 7, 2016. Thus, this appeal is the only pending appeal of the DR before the Board.

The BLM no longer wishes to implement the DR at this time. As the Board has stated,
BLM loses jurisdiction over a decision once it has been appealed to the Board. See, e.g., Benton C. Cavin, 166 IBLA 78, 81-82 (2005) (after appeal to the Board, “BLM has no jurisdiction unilaterally to reverse a decision under appeal and grant relief”); American Petroleum Energy Co., 160 IBLA 59, 72 (2003) (“if a timely notice of appeal is properly filed, the office issuing the decision loses jurisdiction over the case and has no further authority to take any action on the subject matter of the appeal until jurisdiction over it is restored by Board action disposing of the appeal”) (and cases cited therein). Therefore, BLM respectfully requests that the Board immediately vacate and remand the DR to BLM. Such action will have the effect of vacating and rescinding the DR and BLM will not be able to implement the research authorized in the DR until such time as it issues another DR.

Respectfully submitted this 9th day of September, 2016.

Respectfully Submitted,
For the Regional Solicitor
Michael A. Shoessler

Certificate of Service

I hereby certify that on this 9th day of September, 2016, I sent a copy of the foregoing MOTION TO VACATE AND REMAND to the following:

Via Federal Express Overnight Mail

Office of Hearings and Appeals Interior Board of Land Appeals
801 N Quincy Street
Arlington, Virginia 22203
Email: ibla@oha.doi.gov (courtesy only)

Patience O’Dowd
3019 NW Stewart Parkway, Suite 304
Box 132
Roseburg, OR 97471
patience_odowd@yahoo.com (courtesy only)

Michael A. Shoessler

 

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