Public comment process subverted despite NEPA
PORTLAND, Ore. (July 7, 2011)—The Cloud Foundation is outraged at the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) lack of transparency and avoidance of public input pertaining to the Kiger/Riddle Mountain roundup happening now outside of Burns, Oregon. T
he herds are famous for their Spanish Conquistador ancestry as well as Disney’s hit movie, Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron. The Foundation asks Congress to stop the illegal roundup now in order to save these herds from being destroyed. BLM’s plan would reduce the two herds to grossly non-viable populations of less than 50 animals each.
To the Foundation’s knowledge, no pro-wild horse interested parties received the Environmental Assessment (EA) within the allotted 30-day comment period. The only public notification appears to be a March 16, 2011 blurb in the local Burns Times Herald newspaper saying “the proposed action will begin in September, 2011.”
“I was shocked to learn that the Kiger and Riddle Mountain herds were going to be rounded up in early July,” states Diane Pinney, Kiger wild horse adopter and Wild Horse and Burro Representative, Southeast Oregon’s Resource Advisory Council (RAC). “I never received the EA or a notice that it was available, and I can’t find anyone else who did.”
BLM typically receives thousands of comments from concerned members of the public protesting their wild horse removal actions. Despite this, BLM Three Rivers Field Manager, Richard Roy, indicated the agency received “no public comments pertaining to the EA.”
As soon as The Cloud Foundation realized they had not received the EA, nor had anyone they knew, they alerted Portland Attorney, Geordie Duckler. He quickly filed a request for a temporary restraining order. It was denied by District Judge Hernandez and this denial allowed the roundup to begin today.
“This is one of the sleaziest BLM tactics I’ve seen in 16 years of documenting wild horses and dealing with the agency,” states Ginger Kathrens, EMMY Award-winning filmmaker and Executive Director of The Cloud Foundation. “BLM’s actions appear to be a carefully designed strategy to keep the public in the dark and subvert the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process which promotes public involvement.”
“If BLM succeeds in flying under the radar, the wild horses and American taxpayers will pay the price,” explains Kathrens. “We want this roundup to be put on hold right now so we can have at least 30 days for public comment.”
The Cloud Foundation believes BLM’s actions are a violation of the public trust and they vow to continue to fight for the rights of America’s wild horses and burros to roam freely on their legally designated ranges. They encourage members of the public to contact their U.S senators and representatives and request intervention on behalf of our nation’s wild horses and burros before they are managed into oblivion.
Source: The Cloud Foundation Press Release
LINKS OF INTEREST
Save the Mustangs Fund: http://bit.ly/qZZKQM
“Advocates ask Congress to stop dangerous Kiger roundup in Oregon” – Foundation press release: http://bit.ly/kohGUz
BLM Info on Kiger Wild Horses: http://bit.ly/nzW4tg
BLM Roundup Schedule: http://bit.ly/iHNvU9