The real reason behind BLM’s push to remove wild horses: Is Ruby Pipeline the smoking gun?

Wild horse advocates rally in Denver to stop roundups, ask Senator Udall for help in BLM investigation

Source: The Cloud Foundation Press Release

Denver, CO (January 7, 2010)—The Cloud Foundation asks the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to reveal the truth behind removing healthy wild horses from the Calico Complex of northwestern Nevada. It does not appear to be coincidental that the multi-billion dollar corporate project, the Ruby Pipeline, would run through the Calico Complex—site of the controversial roundup of more than 2,500 mustangs and the Buckhorn Wild Horse Herd Management Area. BLM removed over 200 wild horses at Buckhorn in December 2009 without public notice.

Director of the Interior, Ken Salazar, has told members of the public that the horses will starve if not removed because there is nothing for them to eat. The Director of the BLM, Bob Abbey, also supported Salazar’s claim when he stated this week that horses are being removed “to restore an ecological balance” even though this claim is nullified by numerous experts including a biodiversity science specialist with 8 years experience in the range and the sworn testimony of BLM employees Eckel and Drake. Abbey went on to reassert the BLM policy position that “we will need to continue removing excess wild horses from the public rangelands in areas where the land can no longer support them.”

Yet, documents recently received by The Cloud Foundation from biologist Katie Fite of Western Watersheds and researcher Cindy MacDonald (publisher of the American Herds blog) today expose what may be the real reasons behind the massive, dead of winter wild horse roundups—and they have nothing to do with horse or rangeland health—but may have everything to do with the Ruby Pipeline.

In a written response to questions posed by the Office of Energy Projects (an agency within the Department of Energy), a Ruby natural gas pipeline project consultant, Dan Gredvig, stated that “Ruby will work with BLM to minimize wild horse and burro grazing along the restored ROW (right-of-way) for three years. Possible management actions would be to . . . reduce wild horse populations following BLM policy in appropriate management areas. BLM wild horse and burro specialists were consulted in developing this management approach.” The document is dated February 23, 2009.

It appears that the public’s wild horses are being removed at taxpayer expense on publicly owned land to make way for a multi-billion dollar pipeline constructed by El Paso Natural Gas Corporation of Colorado Springs, CO. Natural gas and water would ultimately provide added resources to California and other destinations. Given these new revelations, the public has the right to ask several key questions and get immediate answers to them: 1) Who really stands to profit from removing wild horses from public lands? 2) What private contractors, possible politicians, and/or agency bureaucrats stand to benefit from the yet undisclosed details of the Ruby Project? 3) Why has the public been excluded from any discussion of this undisclosed use of taxpayer public lands?

I don’t think it is out of line to seek immediate responses to these questions. The public has a right to know what is happening to their public lands and to the future of their wild horses, especially when it comes at taxpayer expense..” Ginger Kathrens, Volunteer Executive Director, The Cloud Foundation (named for the famous wild horse Kathrens has documented for the PBS/Nature series).

According to a Western Watersheds report this is the largest project of its type across significant public lands in the American West in recent memory. Ruby has seized upon a sliver of ecologically critical unprotected public wild land to punch a new corridor through, and bisect this irreplaceable landscape, including many of the last viable herds of wild horses in the West.

“The roundups in the Ruby Pipeline zone are questionable,” states Katie Fite, biologist and biodiversity specialist. “The public is not being told the truth. There needs to be an investigation within all levels of BLM considering the unavoidable damage to our public lands. There is no mitigation provided for to restore this biologically wild, remote, and untrammeled landscape in northwestern Nevada and southeastern Oregon.”

Wild horse advocates and concerned Colorado citizens will be gathering to protest in downtown Denver on Thursday January 7 from 12:00-2:00pm in front of Senator Mark Udall’s office building (999 Eighteenth Street, North Tower). Kathrens will address the crowd and press at noon. The group will be asking the Senator to help halt the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM’s) massive roundup of wild horses currently living in the half million acre Calico Mountain Complex area in NW Nevada.

We are standing up today for the American mustang. Senator Udall’s uncle, Stewart Udall, was responsible for saving Cloud’s herd in Montana back in 1968, when the BLM threatened their destruction. We ask Senator Udall to follow in his uncle’s footsteps to protect the last of the mustangs.”—Makendra Silverman, Associate Director, The Cloud Foundation

# # #


— Ruby Pipeline Information:


Ruby pipeline clears step, Star-Tribune, June 22, 2009

— Pipeline Map:

— Western Watersheds Project:

— American Herds:

— Freedom’s Escape & Roundup Report:

— Video Overview of Calico horses and current roundup

— 12.28.09 USA Today: “Activists Decry Wild-Horse Roundups”

— Mestengo. Mustang. Misfit. America’s Disappearing Wild Horses

— Frequently Asked Questions on Wild Horses


— Stampede to Oblivion: An Investigate Report from Las Vegas Now (

— Updated 2009-2010 Roundup Schedule:

— Unified Moratorium letter and signatories


2 thoughts on “The real reason behind BLM’s push to remove wild horses: Is Ruby Pipeline the smoking gun?”

  1. Care on point three: The BLM did schedule public meetings in July 2009 to discuss the “Ruby Pipeline Project.” A “Draft EIS” on the project was published at the same time. Meetings were scheduled in the states of Wyoming, Utah, Nevada and Oregon, but apparently not in California. It has been suggested that the pipeline route was planned to avoid California state environmental restrictions. The gas is intended for consumers in Northern California. Maybe there should have been a few public meetings scheduled for that state as well. California state politicians were likely briefed on the project, but maybe not on the impact to wild horses. Let’s say not.

    The project’s impact on wild horse areas was specifically discussed at the Sierra Front-Northwestern Great Basin RAC meetings in 2009. The “Wild Horse and Burro representative” on that particular RAC led the charge against the WH & Bs (urging the BLM to use “all tools to manage” the wild horses). Sheep’s clothing IMO. True WH & B advocates need to be on these RACs or at least present at the meetings (open to the public).


    1. Thank you for this information; good advice.

      It appears to us that the Ruby pipeline — if there is a link, and that is still a big IF — is being used by the BLM as an excuse to decimate these herds. It would not surprise us if the BLM actually told the Ruby folks that wild horse herds would be a nuisance, or even worse, a danger to their project. Who would Ruby be to question it? BLM are the experts, right?

      Certainly something could have been worked out, another solution arrived at other than rounding them up and holding them illegally for months on end, then selling them to slaughter.

      Wild horses are not intrusive, and have been known to co-exist easily with all types of drilling and exploration projects in the past. What is so different about this one? If wild horses can adjust and live alongside derricks by the hundreds constantly in motion, what is some pipeline?

      They seem to have money to throw away, these people, and if some temporary fencing is needed — can’t imagine why unless they are dynamiting out there — why not?

      The workers laying the pipeline might just actually be awed and inspired to have a front row seat to watch these magnificent creatures, a marvelous privilege most Americans will never, ever have.


Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s