For Immediate Release
BP and Ruby Pipeline Connection Raises Questions About Removal of Calico Wild Horses from Northwestern Nevada
Bloody BLM roundup results in more than 140 deaths of federally protected animals
Colorado Springs, CO (July 10, 2010)—A contract between the $3 billion Ruby Pipeline project managers, El Paso Corp of Colorado Springs, Colorado, and energy giant, British Petroleum, was uncovered this week by ATS News, the investigative journalism arm of number-one “alternative topics” web site, AboveTopSecret.com
. The contract reveals how BP stands to reap millions of dollars from the proposed 675-mile pipeline from Wyoming to Oregon. Ruby would destroy areas of pristine wilderness in northwestern Nevada, formerly home to the majestic wild horses of the Calico Mountains. Ruby Project Coordinator Lars Ecklund said during an April 16 meeting, reported on by the Klamath Falls Herald and News: “Don’t think we’re going to put this pipe in without making a mess . . . It’s going to look like Hiroshima. It’s going to look nasty.”
The Cloud Foundation first raised the issue of a possible deal between the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and Ruby in January, 2010 when a letter and documents (September 14, 2009-p. 30) from Ruby Pipeline, L.L.C to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) revealed a link between the pipeline and the removal of federally protected wild horses in northwestern Nevada. Digging a 4-6 foot deep and 8 foot wide trench for a 42” diameter pipe would gravely impact five wild horse herd areas. In a written response to questions posed by the Office of Energy Projects (an agency within the Department of Energy), Ruby project consultant, Dan Gredvig, stated that “Ruby will work with BLM to minimize wild horse and burro grazing along the restored ROW (right-of-way) for three years. Possible management actions would be to . . . reduce wild horse populations following BLM policy in appropriate management areas. BLM wild horse and burro specialists were consulted in developing this management approach.” The document is dated February 23, 2009.
“Back in January when we met with an official of El Paso Corp who denied any connection between Ruby and the wild horse roundups, we had no idea that BP was going to be a major beneficiary of the project,” stated Ginger Kathrens, Executive Director of The Cloud Foundation.
The connection between BLM and BP extends to the current Department of the Interior (DOI) Deputy Assistant Secretary of Lands and Minerals Management, Sylvia Baca, who was hired away from BP in June of 2009 by DOI Secretary, Ken Salazar. Baca is well-known at DOI where she served as an Assistant Secretary from 1995 to 2001. Her duties included development of national policy and management direction of BLM, Mineral Management service and Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement. Baca also served as the Acting Director of the BLM in the late 1990s when allegations were raised that BLM employees had sold wild horses to slaughter and were involved in wild horses from holding facilities going to slaughter. After the publication of hard-hitting articles by AP reporter, Martha Mendoza, an investigation ensued and a federal grand jury was convened. But before the opening gavel was struck, the plug was pulled on the grand jury for unknown reasons. Kathrens had personal conversations with one of the primary investigators in the case and remembers his belief that there was wrong-doing by BLM employees and his disgust at the mysterious closing of the case before one shred of evidence came to light.
In a PEER (Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility) White Paper released in 1997 on this topic, PEER reported that “On February 19, 1997, the BLM issued a press release announcing the results of an internal investigation ‘which contradicts recent press allegations that wild horses are routinely sent to slaughter.’ Despite this self-proclaimed clean bill of health, the BLM simultaneously announced a series of 20 reforms in the Wild Horse and Burro Program and promised more reforms to come.” Even with the promised ‘reforms’, some of the same employees implicated in the investigation continued working for BLM and at least one is still employed by BLM.
Baca left BLM in 2001 to take a senior management position with BP where her duties included emergency response. During her tenure with BP numerous permits were issued which granted environment waivers—including a waiver for offshore drilling given to the Deepwater Horizon that later exploded, killing 11 workers and continuing to spew ceaseless amounts of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.
Secretary Salazar hired Sylvia Baca back from BP in June of 2009.
“In light of the revolving door of BLM personnel shuffling between big energy and BLM as well as the possible connection between massive Nevada wild horse removals and the construction of the $3 billion Ruby Pipeline, we believe there is a need for emergency protections for the last of the mustangs on their legal rangeland,” states Kathrens. “Otherwise, generations of Americans will loose their opportunity to be inspired by these magnificent animals roaming our vast western landscapes.”
To date more than 100 wild horses have died as a result of the Calico roundup and processing, and more than 40 mares aborted their late-term foals. Calico has been called the “bloodiest roundup in modern history” by George Knapp, Emmy Award-winning journalist with KLAS TV in Las Vegas. “The public that the Department of Interior and the BLM serve is not the John and Mary U.S. Citizen public, it’s the big corporate agriculture and big oil public that gets all the benefits of exploiting our public lands,” he said in the ATS report.
The Cloud Foundation is calling for an immediate moratorium on roundups in the West and for Congressional Hearings into the BLM’s Wild Horse and Burro Program which, left unchecked, will remove 6,000 additional wild horses in the next three months at enormous expense to the American taxpayers and the “protected” mustangs.
Links of interest:
BP Connected to Wild Horse Roundups?
The Mustang Conspiracy: Sex, Drugs, Corruption, and BP – investigative report http://www.abovetopsecret.com/mustangconspiracy/
‘Herd-Watch: Public Eyes for Public Horses’ http://bit.ly/9Wvh58
Roundup Schedule- updated July 2010 http://bit.ly/2010roundup
Disappointment Valley… A Modern Day Western Trailer- excellent sample of interviews regarding the issues http://bit.ly/awFbwm
American Herds Blog http://americanherds.blogspot.com/
Mestengo. Mustang. Misfit.
America’s Disappearing Wild Horses
Fact Sheet on Wild Herds & The Salazar Plan http://bit.ly/bfdX1y
Wild Horse and Burro Act http://bit.ly/a7hOeS
Past Cloud Foundation press releases http://bit.ly/TCFpress
Photos, video and interviews available from:
The Cloud Foundation
The Cloud Foundation is a non-profit dedicated to the preservation and protection of wild horses and burros on our Western public lands with a focus on protecting Cloud’s herd in the Pryor Mountains of Montana.