As part of March for Wild Horses, we ask you to help challenge the BLM on the Myths and Facts they have on their website.
We cannot make comments on BLM’s website about this, but we certainly can here. This is an important exercise, and we appreciate your taking part.
Here is today’s BLM “myth and fact”.
WHAT BLM SAY:
Myth #3: Since 1971, the BLM has illegally or improperly taken away more than 20 million acres set aside for wild horses and burros (from 53.8 million acres to 31.6 million acres).
Fact: This claim is false. No specific amount of acreage was “set aside” for the exclusive use of wild horses and burros under the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act. The Act directed the BLM to determine the areas where horses and burros were found roaming and to manage them “in a manner that is designed to achieve and maintain a thriving natural ecological balance on the public lands.” The law also stipulated in Section 1339 that “Nothing in this Act shall be construed to authorize the [Interior] Secretary to relocate wild free-roaming horses or burros to areas of the public lands where they do not presently exist.” Of the 22.2 million acres no longer managed for wild horse and burro use, 6.7 million acres were never under BLM management.
Of the 15.5 million other acres of land under BLM management:
48.6 percent (7,522,100 acres) were intermingled (“checkerboard”) land ownerships or areas where water was not owned or controlled by the BLM, which made management infeasible;
13.5 percent (2,091,709 acres) were lands transferred out of the BLM’s ownership to other agencies, both Federal and state through legislation or exchange;
10.6 percent (1,645,758 acres) were lands where there were substantial conflicts with other resource values (such as the need to protect habitat for desert tortoise);
9.7 percent (1,512,179 acres) were lands removed from wild horse and burro use through court decisions; urban expansion; highway fencing (causing habitat fragmentation); and land withdrawals;
9.6 percent (1,485,068 acres) were lands where no BLM animals were present at the time of the passage of the 1971 Act or places where all animals were claimed as private property. These lands in future land-use plans will be subtracted from the BLM totals as they should never have been designated as lands where herds were found roaming; and
8.0 percent (1,240,894 acres) were lands where a critical habitat component (such as winter range) was missing, making the land unsuitable for wild horse and burro use, or areas that had too few animals to allow for effective management.
(The percentages above were current as of July 25, 2011.)
WHAT YOU SAY
Set the record straight, and challenge their so-called facts by commenting on this post.
If you have a lengthy answer, say from someone else’s website, please provide a statement or two (instead of pasting in the whole thing) with a link to where you got it, so we can give them credit for their work and make it easier for people to read all of the comments.