September 16, 2011
Senator John Boozman (R. - AR)
1 Russell Courtyard
Washington, D.C. 20510
RE: BLM's Wild Horse and Burro Program
Dear Senator Boozman:
Andrew Cohen of the Atlantic recently wrote four articles on the BLM's initial decision of record for a late summer roundup in Wyoming's Little Colorado and White Mountain (HMA) herd management areas. (Cohen's 4th Article here:)
I have enclosed three of Mr. Cohen's articles for you as they intelligently and thoughtfully reflect the point of view I have been trying to convey to your aide, Zachary Hartman, regarding my concerns about the BLM's Wild Horse and Burro program. The BLM has, bit by bit and rather grudgingly, rescinded the most disturbing parts of its determination due to massive public outrage, announcing its final determination in early August. To show you how punitive and arbitrary the decision initially seemed, I have also included pictures of the area, taken in late May of this year, showing a range in excellent condition and horses in good health. (Carol Walker photographs)
As you know, the Congress voted to fully fund this program for 2011 in spite of over 70,000 letters and comments from the American public to Congress objecting to the BLM's massive roundups and treatment of the wild horses. Equally as troubling is the BLM's complete removal (zeroing out) of wild horses and burros from over 19 million acres since the 1971 law was enacted with more herds scheduled to be zeroed out by the end of this fiscal year.
In the most recent article, Mr. Cohen states: " As I have written before, it's not just what the BLM is doing to these wild horses that disturbs a great many people. It is the way in which the deed is being done. Consistently backing ranching interests over horse advocacy groups, annually squeezing the horses out of more and more public land, the BLM nonetheless wants to maintain the public pretense that it is an honest broker when it comes to the fate of the horses -- that its officials are doing what they can, within the narrow confines of federal law, to protect and manage the herds. But this is a false pretense. Literally and figuratively these days, America's wild horses are on the run; suitable for marketing but otherwise harassed by their human stewards."
In addition, the BLM's Environmental Assessments (EA's) blithely state that a gas or oil well pad has no significant environmental impact, but one horse per square mile is too many on most of our public lands. If the grading, excavation, drilling, and attendant truck traffic and noise along with the chemical pollution of nearly a quarter of a million barrels of water needed to fracture the earth has no significant environmental impact then how can we take any of the BLM's EA's seriously?
Please take a moment to look over the enclosed articles. Most Americans find the behavior of the BLM in violation of the 1971 WHPA. I hope you do as well.