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new-logo25An Open Letter and Comment form Grandma Gregg

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Who actually owns “public land”?

DSC_0084As an American citizen, environmental researcher and a life-long visitor to the state of Utah, I appreciate the opportunity to provide input on the proposed Bible Springs Complex environmental assessment. The federal government does not own land in the West. These are not “state lands” and not “federal lands” and not even “government lands”.” They are public lands. The American people own the public lands in the West and they are administered on our behalf by the national government under laws and regulations. This land belongs to all citizens of the United States, not the federal government.

The 1971 Congressional Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act, (Public Law 92-195), declares that the land where wild horses and burros were found at the time of the passing of the Act, is to be devoted principally but not exclusively to the wild horses’ and wild burros’ welfare in keeping with the multiple-use management concept of public lands. Definition of principally: First, highest, foremost in importance, rank, worth or degree, chief, mainly, largely, chiefly, especially, particularly, mostly, primarily, above all, predominantly, in the main, for the most part, first and foremost. It is the law of the United States of America and any policy or regulation or memorandum of understanding or environmental assessment or Record of Decision or Finding of No Significance that BLM or other governmental agency writes or proposes or agrees to or takes action on that does not come under the umbrella of the law is therefore illegal.

Extortion and Conspiracy

Extortion (also called “shakedown”) is a criminal offense of obtaining money, property, or services from a person, entity, or institution, through coercion. The actual obtainment of money or property or service is not required to commit the offense. Making a threat of forcefulness which refers to a requirement of a payment of money or property or service to halt future violence is sufficient to commit the offense. If the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) caves into the bullying tactics and threats of illegal action, by ranchers and local county officials in Utah who want to keep ranges open for cattle grazing for private or corporate profit, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the citizens of the United States of America have fallen victim to extortion. This shows a very, very sad state of affairs for our great nation.

The actions stated in the BLM’s environmental assessment propose a massive wild horse roundup in the Bible Springs Complex. Iron County Utah commissioners and ranchers recently and publically gave the BLM an ultimatum: Come up with an immediate plan to capture and remove wild horses from the area or residents will do it themselves. Ranchers are scapegoating federally protected wild horses for the damage of the range when in reality millions of cattle are permitted to graze on our public lands.

As an example, take a look at one cattle ranch with a public grazing permit as discussed in the below news article. This rancher’s private 7,000 acre property could support about 30 cattle on a year round basis, using BLM’s own 240 acres per horse per year estimate for comparison. Because the rancher has a grazing permit to use public land, he runs 300 mother cows and calves. In other words 90% his cattle operation is subsidized by his use of the public land. This exemplifies the reasoning behind BLM’s current proposal to capture and remove the wild horses from their legally designated land – pressure from local privately owned domestic livestock owners. And to add to the illegal actions, this rancher proposes to amend his personal ranch management problems by shooting the federally protected wild horses. If this ranch owner cannot manage his own land and livestock sufficiently enough to provide the lifestyle he wants, then that is proof that he is an incompetent ranch manager and he deserves the results of his deficient management. Instead this rancher is refusing to follow the law and BLM’s request to reduce his privately owned domestic livestock on public land. As proven by the BLM’s announcement to capture and remove wild horses from their legally authorized land the agency is cowering to his demands. This is illegal and known as extortion and must be stopped.

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http://www.blm.gov/nv/st/en/prog/wh_b/rangeland_health.print.html

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