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Proposed Collection of Information on Wild Horses & Burros; BLM Requests Comments

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The BLM is now planning to do a “knowledge and values study” on wild horses & burros using focus groups.  The focus groups are to include the usual special interest groups (the same ones that are so vocal against wild horses & burros on the BLM Resource Advisory Councils/RACs).

Most of us aren’t perusing the Federal Register on a daily basis, but an advocate alerted us to the notice below.  We should all ask WHO will APPOINT/SELECT the people who will take part in these focus groups.  The BLM proposes to have “guides” (a prepared agenda) for the groups, presumably to limit the topics you can talk about.  The questions/discussions will then likely be designed to lead you to whatever predetermined outcome the BLM wants.  Read HERE about the BLM and use of the Delphi Technique.

This is not free speech.  Will the topics include the delay of the issuance of the investigation report of the 1,700 wild horses Tom Davis bought?  Will the focus groups be updated on the current number of deaths of wild horses at the BLM’s Scott City, Kansas feedlot?  Will the participants be able to review any vet reports or necropsy reports from the Scott City feedlot?

This undemocratic process seems to be a way for the BLM to feign interest in listening to the public,  while in reality, it continues its efforts to contrive what could seem to the public to be some sort of a consensus.

I wonder if the BLM will ever have focus groups or advisory councils on wild horse & burro issues that are composed ONLY of real wild horse & burro advocates, who all care about the welfare of the wild horses and burros (instead of special interest “stakeholders” who focus on how to get rid of them).  The comment period for this proposed focus group farce ends May 11, 2015.  This is destined to be another unscientific “study” as the BLM continues to operate like a dog chasing its tail.  –  Debbie Coffey


This document has a comment period that ends in 58 days (05/11/2015) How To Comment

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Foreign-owned mines operate royalty-free under outdated US law

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SOURCE:  revealnews.org  from The Center for Investigative Reporting

By / January 21, 2015

Let’s say you own 245 million acres.  And underneath that land are billions of dollars worth of minerals – gold, silver, copper, uranium and more.  Would you let foreign companies in to tear up your land, put your water at risk and take those minerals without paying royalties?

You already are. That’s the amount of public surface land controlled by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, the federal government’s biggest landholder. And companies that mine these lands are exempt from federal royalty payments.

And it’s happening right now.  Take, for example, the Dewey Burdock uranium project in South Dakota.  It encompasses 240 acres of public surface land, plus more than 4,000 subsurface acres of uranium-rich earth.

As of two months ago, a Hong Kong-based company had secured the right to mine and profit off that uranium, used to replenish nuclear power plants around the world, particularly in China.  In November, Hong Kong’s Azarga Resources merged with Powertech to become Azarga Uranium and manage the Dewey Burdock project.

Azarga will pay no royalties to the United States government.  Thanks to the Mining Law of 1872, which still governs uranium and other “hardrock” mining to this day, any company can extract and sell minerals from public lands without paying a cent in royalties to the federal government.

A spokesman for the mine, Mark Hollenbeck, points out that the mine will be paying South Dakota a severance tax, which is a tax on extracting nonrenewable resources.

Besides the royalties issue, some community members worry this mine will put their drinking water at risk.  In-situ uranium mining by nature takes place where there is groundwater.  The process involves injecting chemicals into the aquifer where the uranium ore is.  The chemicals leach the uranium from the rock, and the uranium is then pumped to the surface.  At Dewey Burdock, opponents are concerned that the radioactive, uranium-laden groundwater won’t be contained to the mining site.

Last week, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission released testimony from geologist Hannan LaGarry.  LaGarry found serious flaws in the company’s analysis of the groundwater geology.  He concluded that that there is a risk of groundwater contamination if the mine is allowed to go forward.

The mining company opposed the release of the testimony.

In the U.S., the aquifer by law must be restored to its previous condition when mining is finished.  That means the water must be cleaned enough to put it back to its pre-mining uses.

A Hong Kong-based company has secured the right to mine and profit off the Dewey Burdock uranium project in South Dakota.

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Carol Walker, Dir. of Field Documentation for Wild Horse Freedom Federation, with an update on the Wyoming wild horse checkerbcourt case and the captured wild horses (Wed., 3/4/15)

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painy

Wild_Horse_Burro_Radio_LogoJoin us on Wild Horse Wednesday (*SM) , March 4, 2015 More

Janine Blaeloch, Dir. of Western Lands Project, on BLM & Forest Service Land Swaps and Industrial Solar, on Wild Horse & Burro Radio (Wed., 2/25)

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painy

Wild_Horse_Burro_Radio_LogoJoin us on Wild Horse Wednesday (*SM) , February 25, 2015 More

Rancher Kevin Borba & Eureka County Commissioners try to pull wool over public’s eyes

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 Debbie Coffey, V.P. & Dir. of Wild Horse Affairs, Wild Horse Freedom Federation

CORRECTION:  When this article originally posted, the incorrect information that Kevin Borba owned 330,000 acres was quoted from the Elko Daily Free Press (Thomas Mitchell).  However, according to newly obtained information from the Eureka County Assessor, Kevin Borba owns 1,339.55 acres.  This article has been updated to include this correction. ____________________________________________________

Fish Creek HMA roundup (photo:  Bureau of Land Management)

Fish Creek HMA roundup (photo: Bureau of Land Management)

Rancher Kevin Borba and Eureka County Commissioners filed the appeal with the Interior Board of Land Appeals on Friday, opposing the return of any of the 424 wild horses recently rounded up to the Fish Creek Herd Management Area (HMA) near Eureka, Nevada.

The BLM planned to return 104 mares treated with fertility control (PZP) and 82 studs to the Fish Creek Herd Management Area (HMA) near Eureka on Friday. More

Sustainable Cowboys or Welfare Ranchers of the American West?

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Source:  THE DAILY PITCHFORK

Report analyzes taxpayer bailout of U.S. public lands ranching [Part II of a series on ranchers]

by Vickery Eckhoff

Cliven-Bundy-on-Horseback-e1423775080754-620x264 Public lands livestock operators each cost taxpayers nearly a quarter of a million dollars in subsidies over the last decade. (AP Photo/Las Vegas Review-Journal, John Locher)

Five hundred million dollars[1]. That’s what 21,000[2] ranchers who graze their livestock on America’s iconic western rangelands are estimated to have cost US taxpayers in 2014 — and every year for the past decade. This averages out to an annual taxpayer subsidy of $23,809 per rancher — approximately a quarter of a million dollars each since 2005. So why does this small subset, representing just 2.7% of US livestock producers, protest the “welfare rancher” label?

 The public lands grazing program is welfare.

That $23,809 — and it’s a lowball figure — is a form of public assistance similar to other welfare programs. The only difference is, it doesn’t arrive as a check in the mail. It instead represents a loss covered by taxpayers: the very large difference between what public lands ranchers pay in fees to the US government and what public lands grazing costs taxpayers every year. But it’s still a subsidy, as a newly updated economic analysis, Costs and Consequences: The Real Price of Livestock Grazing on America’s Public Lands, makes clear. And the recipients aren’t low income; a large number are millionaires and some are billionaires and multi-billion dollar corporations. Cattle barons, if you will.

Public lands ranching costs western ecosystems, wildlife and taxpayers.

“Several federal agencies permit livestock grazing on public lands in the United States, the largest being the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the Department of Agriculture’s United States Forest Service (USFS).

The vast majority of livestock grazing on BLM and USFS rangelands occurs in the 11 western states of Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Oregon, Montana, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.

Rangelands are non-irrigated and generally have vegetation that consists mostly of grasses, herbs and/or shrubs. They are different from pastureland, which may periodically be planted, fertilized, mowed or irrigated.”

READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE HERE.

Dept. of Justice refuses to take any action against Spur Livestock, BLM contractors who sold wild horses to a kill buyer

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In this case, there was NO justice.  Wild Horse Freedom Federation did an investigation and found that a BLM long term holding contractor, Spur Livestock, sold wild horses to well known kill buyer Joe Simon.  R.T. Fitch, President of Wild Horse Freedom Federation, publicly presented an official government document with proof of this to the National Wild Horse & Burro Advisory Board at their meeting.  Joan Guilfoyle, Division Chief of the BLM’s Wild Horse & Burro Program, was present.

However, the Department of Justice (DoJ) only issued a letter of declination.  A declination decision is generally viewed to mean that the DoJ , in the exercise of its prosecutorial discretion, declines to prosecute or bring an enforcement action.  

So, the issue of a current BLM contractor selling wild horses to a kill buyer, most likely for slaughter, was just swept under the rug. More

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