The Obama Administration recently released its proposed Budget for the BLM, which includes a whopping $75.7 million dollars for the BLMs Wild Horse and Burro Program with an additional request of $42.5 million to purchase land for ONE wild horse preserve related to Secretary Salazar’s new vision for the future of America’s herds – despite having approximately 680,000,000 acres of land currently under federal control.
On July 9, 2008, Congressional Representative’s Nick Rahall, Chairman of the Committee on Natural Resources and Raul Grijalva, Chairman of the Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands, sent a letter to BLM regarding their management of the Wild Horse and Burro Program. In it, they stated, “You may be aware that the BLM’s inability to administer the budget of the Wild Horse and Burro Program with any trace of fiscal accountability is a long standing concern…”
In that letter, Representatives Rahall and Grijalva also asked,
“It has been reported that over 19 million acres of land, on which wild horses and burros existed at the time of the passage of the Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act in 1971, is no longer available for wild horses. Is this figure accurate? If so, what is the justification for terminating wild horse and burro use of these lands?”
“Why has the BLM not reintroduced wildhorses/burros to lands that previously were available to the animals in 1971, which have subsequently been closed to their use?”
Yes, what about the land that has “disappeared” . . . .
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) was suppose to include an answer to where all the land went in their report released in November 2008 but apparently, the question of acreage was too daunting for the GAO to try to sort out, so they deferred it to BLM to answer.
BLM was suppose to release a report in March of 2009 but that deadline came and went. In June of 2009, the BLM presented a “draft” report to the National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board that included “lump sum” explanations of where all the acreage disappeared too under such headings as, “Resource conflicts” or “Unsuitable Habitat” or “Other Reasons” but nobody has seen, nor is anybody asking BLM to actually provide a full accounting of what this really means.
Real answers to the question of “lost acreage” seems to have melted into the background while Salazar is busy sticking his tin cup out to the American taxpayer to compensate for land and herds stolen from the public.
The Ivanpah Solar Plant
As the Obama Administration, Secretary Salazar and such heavy hitters such as T.Boone Pickens* are pushing a Fast Track and selling the American public on their “green, renewable energy” agenda while turning a blind eye to all the former wild horse and burro habitat these projects need in order to come to fruition, it’s becoming more and more apparent it’s not just land these guys are after anymore.
With a megalithic public resource grab swinging into full gear, the last of our Nation’s vast resources are headed to the chopping block for international consumption by the corporate interests funding these resource grabs and partnering with our “public officials”.
It’s not just the land, it’s everything the land contains and for those of us who live in the Southwest, what really sticks out is, the water these industrial tycoons are going to suck dry and lock up from the people – forever!
To illustrate this point, here is what is going to happen with just ONE solar plant out of hundreds currently being “fast tracked” by BLM in the former home of the Clark Mountain burros.
Basin and Range Watch (BRW) has provided extensive research and coverage of what the Ivanpah Solar Plant really means. Rather than work to set up solar panels and plates on homes and business in already developed places first like Las Vegas located just 35 miles away, this so called “green” technology will set up shop directly adjacent to the Ivanpah Desert Tortoise Critical Area of Environmental Concern (ACEC) that the Clark Mountain burros were supposedly zeroed out to protect.
This is a fascinating report, and we have chopped it up mercilessly here. Please go to the American Herds website at this link to read the full accounting and fill in the blanks. Our apologies to the author.
* Yes, that would be the husband of Madeleine Pickens. We shall not comment any further, except to say (because we simply cannot resist it), surely there is more than a touch of irony here. Sigh.