GRAND JUNCTION, CO (Wild Horses & Burros) — The Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board will meet Oct. 18-19 in Grand Junction, Colorado, to discuss wild horse and burro overpopulation on public lands and the impacts the animals are having on the range.
Today, the BLM estimates that about 73,000 wild horses and burros reside in 10 Western states—a record number since the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act was passed—and almost three times the number the habitat can sustainably support in conjunction with other land uses.
The meeting will be held at the Grand Vista Hotel, 2790 Crossroads Boulevard at Horizon Drive. The hotel’s website address is grandvistahotel.com and its phone number is 970/241-1077.
Prior to the meeting, a field tour will be held on Oct. 17, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., departing from the Grand Vista Hotel lobby in Grand Junction. The field tour will have limited availability for the public on a first-come, first-served advance sign up. Attendees must provide for their own transportation (four-wheel drive recommended). To sign up, contact Dorothea Boothe by e-mail no later than Oct. 6 at email@example.com.
The public can address the Advisory Board on Oct. 18 from 3 to 5 p.m. Individuals who want to make a statement should register in person with the BLM prior to 3 p.m., local time, on that same day at the meeting site. Depending on the number of speakers, the Board could limit the length of presentations, set at three minutes for previous meetings.
Speakers should submit a written copy of their statement to the BLM at the addresses below or bring a copy to the meeting. There will be a webcam present during the entire meeting and individual comments may be recorded. Those who would like to comment but are unable to attend may submit a written statement to:
National Wild Horse and Burro Program
Attention: Ramona DeLorme
1340 Financial Boulevard
Reno, NV, 89502-7147
Comments may also be e-mailed to the BLM at firstname.lastname@example.org; please include “Advisory Board Comment” in the e-mail’s subject line.
There is not a single encouraging word when it comes to the sort of people president-elect Trump may appoint to fill Cabinet positions, especially the ones that will impact the safety of America’s horses.
We list the Departments that historically look to have the most obvious impact on wild and domestic horse issues.
ENERGY (Wild Horses — Fracking — Public Lands)
Reuters reported in July that Trump was considering nominating fracking billionaire Harold Hamm to run the Energy Department.
Trump made no effort to deny that report, and he bragged about his friendship with Hamm at a press conference a few days later. “These other companies, they go out and spend millions of dollars looking for oil,” Trump said. “That guy takes a straw, puts it in the ground, and oil pours out of it. That’s the kind of a guy we want telling us about energy.”
Hamm called on Trump to slash regulations on oil and gas drilling, claiming the government is impeding energy production (even though the United States is producing oil and gas at record levels). At the Republican convention, Hamm declared, “Climate change isn’t our biggest problem. It’s Islamic terrorism.”
Last year, according to Bloomberg, Hamm told the University of Oklahoma dean he wanted the school to fire scientists who were exploring connections between oil and gas activity and the state’s tremendous increase in earthquakes. (via Mother Jones)
A Hamm appointment would “make him the first oil executive in the cabinet seat,” according to FuelFix.com.
The energy investment banking firm Tudor Pickering Holt suggested that “Maybe the Environmental Protection Agency will use the Endangered Species Act to block development less frequently than prior administrations.” (Source)
AGRICULTURE (Horse Slaughter — All Horses)
Biofuels baron Bruce Rastetter, a member of Trump’s agriculture advisory council and a big-time Republican donor, has been rumored to be on the shortlist, in part because of his close relationship with Christie. That’d be a Christmas gift for the ethanol lobby.
Politico reported that the list of candidates for the job also includes Texas Agriculture Secretary Sid Miller, who famously called Hillary Clinton a “cunt” on Twitter during the presidential race.
Miller, who was embroiled in an ethics scandal back in Texas for using taxpayer dollars to compete in a rodeo, has aggressively pushed junk food in public schools and went so far as to grant “amnesty” to a cupcake. (via Mother Jones)
INTERIOR (Wild Horses — Bureau of Land Management, Wild Horse & Burro Program)
Politico reported in September that Lucas Oil founder Forrest Lucas is the front-runner to head the federal agency that oversees national parks and Indian affairs.
Lucas, a major Republican donor, has in recent years thrown his money behind efforts to block state legislation designed to crack down on abusive puppy mills. Picking an oil-industry executive to manage public lands—and one of the department that’s most aggressively fighting climate change—would send a clear signal about Trump’s priorities.
The dark horse, though, is Donald Trump Jr., who told Petersen’s Hunting that he would make a good interior secretary because he likes to hunt. “I can make a difference,” he said, “and I could do something to preserve the great traditions of the outdoors that are so vital to this country, and would be so vital to our youth, that have been shunned by the media and stigmatized in so many ways.”
In 2015, Trump suggested that Sarah Palin would make an effective Cabinet secretary. Palin has said she would like to run the Department of Energy, but according to Politico, Interior might be her best bet. If so, get ready to hear the phrase “Drill, Baby, Drill” again.
Interior is the department where Trump is most likely to hire a woman. Former Rep. Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming, former Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, and Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin are also under consideration, according to BuzzFeed. (via Mother Jones)
WHAT YOU CAN DO
There are two dynamics at play here.
1. A Republican presidency with a strong Republican Congress means little to no help for animals at the federal level. Historically, they will likely try to reverse or derail as many animal protections as they can. We will need to appeal to the States.
2. Trump continually says he is going to hand power back to the States (only where this suits him of course).
Steps You Can Take Now
1. Begin finding out who represents you at the State level.
2. Research where they stand on animal issues, in particular horse issues. If you can’t find anything on the internet, then call their office and ask. They may have a formal policy. Ask for a copy of it.
3. Get to know your State legislators.
• Find out where you can meet them.
• Sign up for their newsletter.
• If they have a speaking engagement in your area, attend it no matter what the topic. Join the meet and greet line if they have one and let him or her know what’s on your mind concerning horse issues.
• Go to your State Legislature’s website and follow your State Representative and Senator (sometimes called Assemblymen or woman).
4. Get to know your Governor.
• Rinse and repeat what you did for your State legislators.
A LETTER from 30 lawmakers is urging US Interior Secretary Sally Jewell to reform the Bureau of Land Management’s controversial wild horse and burro management program.
It follows a recent National Academy of Sciences (NAS) review, which criticised the bureau’s program as being costly, unsustainable, and employing strategies which encouraged high population growth among wild horses across the western rangelands.
Arizona representative Raúl Grijalva wrote the letter, co-signed by a bipartisan group of 29 other House members, asking Jewell to make the reforms a priority.
An identical letter signed by more than 30,000 Americans, including celebrities such as Robert Redford, Carole King, Ali MacGraw, Viggo Mortensen, Ed Harris, Noah Wylie, Wendie Malick, Betty White and Valerie Bertinelli, has also been sent to Jewell.
“I’ve been asking for changes for years, and NAS has confirmed that we can save taxpayer money and horses’ lives at the same time by improving this program,” Grijalva said. “We have the information we need. Now it’s time to do something with it.”
Grijalva, the ranking Democrat on the House Natural Resources subcommittee on public lands and environmental regulation, said Jewell had shown a true commitment to the conservation of America’s unique natural heritage, and he hoped she would give America’s wild horses the attention they deserved.
“Congress had the wisdom to pass the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act in 1971. We can’t let mismanagement and waste be the only legacy of that far-sighted decision.”
Grijalva wrote that the bureau had pursued an unsustainable and highly controversial approach to wild horse management.
“In fact, the US Government today maintains more wild horses in captivity than remain free in the wild.
“This is an untenable situation, both for America’s wild horses and for American taxpayers.
“Since 2009, the BLM’s Wild Horse and Burro Program budget has doubled as the agency escalated its unsustainable roundup-remove-and-stockpile approach to wild horse management.
“Meanwhile, the BLM has grossly underutilized proven, cost-effective and humane alternatives, such as fertility control, that keep wild horses on the range and avert the need for roundups and removals.
“We are hopeful that your appreciation of the outdoors will lead you to embrace and appreciate the iconic wild horses and burros of the American West and share the commitment of the majority of Americans to protecting them.
“This is a solvable problem, but it requires a commitment to fixing what is not working,” he wrote.