The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in Nevada's Elko District is seeking public comments on 73 parcels nominated for a gas and oil sale auction. Of these, 43 parcels overlap with three important wild horse herd management areas that are home to nearly half the wild horses in the Elko District. The BLM excluded from the auction 141 parcels to protect sage grouse, archeological and Native American sites. Yet, the agency did not consider its mandate to protect wild horses and burros as an important enough reason to eliminate parcels from sale for oil and gas development.
Please take a minute to tell the BLM to withdraw protect wild horse habitat areas from being auctioned off for gas and oil development.
BLM Signs Two New Contracts for Helicopter Roundups
The BLM has awarded two new contracts totaling $12 million to helicopter companies for wild horse and burro roundup services. The award comes despite the June 2013 National Academy of Sciences (NAS) report -- requested and paid for by the BLM -- calling on the BLM to utilize currently available alternatives (fertility control) to "continuing to remove horses to long-term holding facilities." Instead of following the NAS' recommendations, the BLM is turning away from using proven PZP fertility control methods and seeking to implement extreme and destructive measures of population control, including the dangerous surgical sterilization of mares in the field. Read more about the new contracts here.
The BLM and Forest Service Renew Below-Market Grazing Fees for Another Year
On January 31, the BLM announced that fees for livestock grazing on BLM and Forest Service Lands will again be $1.35 per Animal Unit Month, the lowest allowable under the law. The fee is 1/12th of market rate for grazing on private lands in the West, thanks to taxpayer subsidies. While ranchers and their allies point fingers at the cost of the $75 million wild horse and burro program, the federal grazing program is estimated to cost taxpayers as much as $500 million to $1 billion annually in direct and indirect costs. Public lands grazing accounts for less than one percent of the nation's cattle and sheep sales, and recent polls show that only 29 percent of Americans support livestock grazing on public lands. By contrast, 72 percent of Americans want wild horses and burros protected on public lands. Please read more here.