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How the BLM is ruining America’s public lands

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SOURCE: counterpunch.org

Savagery in the Great Basin

The Bureau of Land Management has spent the pandemic churning out rapacious public land projects at breakneck speed. This includes egregious grazing decisions drastically increasing livestock numbers for powerful ranchers. After complaints, Idaho BLM Director John Ruhs responded that ranching was an essential service.

At the same time, an avalanche of BLM deforestation projects hit. Ely BLM’s Long and Ruby Valley Watershed Restoration EA decision arrived by certified mail, authorizing more grotesque pinyon-juniper carnage and smashed roller-beaten sagebrush across 136,000 acres of public land. That’s 213 square miles laid to waste within a nearly half million-acre landscape, plus blanket tree removal around all springs.

It’s the latest in a dismal series of cookie cutter projects tearing apart the Great Basin. BLM’s 2008 land use plan (the Ely RMP) is based on radical deforestation and sagebrush reduction. At that time, sage-grouse were not the primary excuse for these projects. Hazardous fuels reduction was all the rage. Nowadays, both are knotted together. The RMP has served as a springboard for watershed-by-watershed decimation of native forests and sage communities, and their migratory bird and other wildlife inhabitants across the District’s 12 million acres.

The Modeling Con: Restoration = Plant Community Destruction = Livestock Forage Grass

BLM concocts models of supposed historical plant communities using inputs that ignore actual historical accounts of sagebrush and pinyon-juniper occurrence and characteristics. The models are acronym laden, confusing, and help facilitate destruction of woody plants that ranchers don’t like. Short fire return intervals and sketchy fuels assumptions from the Landfire website are plugged in to the models.

The Nature Conservancy (TNC) has been deeply involved in pushing this dubious forest and sage dooming methodology. Once armed with voodoo vegetation models, BLM claims trees should not be growing where they are found across Nevada’s mountain ranges, because the models predict frequent fires would have kept forests from persisting. BLM also adds in a scheme based on arbitrary “phases” (amounts of canopy cover) to justify clearing away trees. Anything to keep a forest from being a forest. This has long been the playbook for obliterating trees in Nevada.

READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE HERE.

Katie Fite is a biologist and Public Lands Director with WildLands Defense.

America’s Rangelands Deeply Damaged by Overgrazing

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photo: BLM

SOURCE:  PEER.org

Figures Show Vast Areas Failing BLM’s Own Rangeland Health Standards

Washington, DC — The Bureau of Land Management’s most recent data on the health of federal rangelands reveal extensive damage from excessive commercial livestock grazing, according to figures posted today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER).  Last month, BLM announced its intent to rewrite its grazing rules without specifying the measures it is considering.

BLM’s Standards for Rangeland Health prescribe the minimum quality of water, vegetation and soils, as well as the ability to support wildlife, required by the agency for permitting livestock grazing.  The most recent (2018) rangeland health report on BLM grazing allotments across 150 million acres in 13 Western states shows –

  • Of total acres assessed, 42% fail to meet BLM Standards for Rangeland Health, totaling nearly 40 million acres, approximately the area of Washington State;
  • The largest portion (70%) of range health failure is due to livestock overgrazing in allotments covering nearly 28 million acres, an area the size of Pennsylvania; and
  • These figures are underestimates because nearly 40 percent of these federal rangelands – nearly 59 million acres or an area about the size of Oregon – have never been assessed.

“By its own yardstick, BLM is a poor steward of our federal rangeland,” stated PEER Advocacy Director Kristen Stade…

READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE HERE.

A Guy Named Craig May Soon Have Control Over a Large Swath of Utah

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SOURCE:  The New Yorker

“the B.L.M. has scheduled nearly twenty oil-and-gas-lease sales on federal land nationwide through the end of 2020, and the Administration has shrunk the size of wildernesses and national monuments, paving the way for more drilling… It is a classic land rush.”

Even if you’ve never been to the vast red-rock desert country around Moab, Utah, you’ve been there—its mesas and buttes, its towering arches, have been the backdrop for a thousand movies (and even more S.U.V. commercials). It’s what we think about when we think about “the West,” a truly mythic place. Some of it has been protected in national monuments and parks: Arches and Canyonlands. But the fate of a large swath of it, though nominally belonging to the American people, may soon fall to a guy named Craig Larson.

Here’s the story so far. Under a long-standing law known as the Mineral Leasing Act of 1920, anyone can “nominate” a parcel of federal land for oil-and-gas development—it doesn’t cost a thing. The rules are so lax that you don’t even have to supply your name if you want to nominate a piece of land, but Prairie Hills Oil & Gas did provide at least that much context when it asked the federal Bureau of Land Management to set aside land between Arches and Canyonlands. Prairie Hills Oil & Gas, of North Dakota, it turns out, is headquartered at a home that Larson, an attorney, co-owns in Big Lake, Minnesota, about forty miles northwest of Minneapolis. After the land is nominated, and certain review processes are completed, the B.L.M. moves to set up a lease auction, which, in the case of Larson and Utah, is scheduled for September. (Although Larson has nominated the parcels, anyone, in fact, could be the ultimate winning bidder.)

READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE HERE.

BLM again releases fraudulent population statistics for wild horses & burros

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by Grandma Gregg

“BLM states biologically impossible annual wild horse population rates…”

photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) recently posted their annual Wild Horse and Burro Herd Statistics. As in previous years, BLM’s report is full of obviously false, biologically impossible population growth data.

WHY is it important to expose this fraud? Because BLM uses the phony figures to convince everyone (but especially, the Congress) that an overpopulation crisis exists. Given the “crisis,” BLM requests millions of dollars in funding to capture and remove thousands of wild horses and burros from the range or, alternatively, to sterilize them. The fraudulent figures reflect BLM’s corruption. Yet, the Agency is granted deference, as if it were providing true data.

BLM’s falsified population figures affect not only specific herds (by triggering unwarranted, excessive roundups) but also misrepresent the total wild horse and burro population. The astronomically-high numbers for certain herds significantly inflate the summary data, making it seem as if all herds grow at a high rate.

Here are just a few of the many false figures that BLM is alleging for the reporting-year beginning March 1st 2019 and ending February 29th 2020:

WARM SPRINGS Herd Management Area (HMA) a 497% increase in ONE year (a herd of 30 horses produced 149 successful foals in one year which would require that every single horse – including the stallions! – have more than four surviving foals in one year. Biologically impossible

TOBIN RANGE Herd Management Area (HMA) a 377% increase in ONE year (a herd of 30 horses produced 113 successful foals in one year which would require that every single horse – including the stallions! – have more than three surviving foals in one year. Biologically impossible

HARDTRIGGER Herd Management Area (HMA) a 371% increase in ONE year (a herd of 14 horses produced 52 successful foals in one year which would require that every single horse – including the stallions! – have more than three surviving foals in one year. Biologically impossible

SNOWSTORM Mts. Herd Management Area (HMA) a 252% increase in ONE year (a herd of 90 horses produced 227 successful foals in one year which would require that every single horse – including the stallions! – have more than two surviving foals in one year. Biologically impossible

DIAMOND HILLS SOUTH Herd Management Area (HMA) a 187% increase in ONE year (a herd of 216 horses produced 404 successful foals in one year which would require that every single horse – including the stallions! – have more than one surviving foal in one year. Biologically impossible

DIAMOND HILLS NORTH Herd Management Area (HMA) a 129% increase in ONE year (a herd of 271 horses produced 349 successful foals in one year which would require that every single horse – including the stallions! – have more than one surviving foal in one year. Biologically impossible

Not only are these false statements misleading to Congress and to the public but the perpetrators (BLM) of these fraudulent population increases are in violation of Title 18 (18 U.S.C. § 1001). Making false statements (18 U.S.C. § 1001) is the common name for the United States federal CRIME laid out in Section 1001 of Title 18 of the United States Code, which prohibits making false or fraudulent statements, in “any matter within the jurisdiction” of the federal government of the United States, 18 U.S. Code § 1519. Whoever, in any matter within the jurisdiction of the executive, legislative, or judicial branch of the Government of the United States, violates this federal crime shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 5 years.

Horses and burros have an approximate 11-month gestation period but as shown above and in their statistics, BLM continually gives biologically impossible annual herd increases. A recent study of 5,859 wild horses showed that although the average annual birth rate was about 20%, the survival to the age of yearling was only half of those – therefore a maximum herd increase of only 10%. In addition, adult mortality must be factored which therefore reduces the average herd increase to less than 10% annually. The National Academy of Science report cited two chief criticisms of the Wild Horse and Burro Program: unsubstantiated population estimates in herd management areas (HMA), and management decisions that are not based in science (NAS, 2013). The BLM’s biologically-impossible and scientifically-indefensible population-growth rates constitute dishonest and distorted data, which the BLM uses to mislead Congress and the American people. These false population statements are a federal crime punishable by prison and a fraudulent action against the American public in addition to being a travesty against our wild horses and burros.

WHY is this so important? Because these are the statistics that BLM gives to Congress when requesting funding for wild horse and burro capture and management plans, including the recent BLM $1-Billion Wild Horse Disaster Plan that pushes for massive roundups and the destruction of wild horse social behaviors through surgical and chemical sterilization for both mares and stallions.

*** Click (HERE) for a complete mathematical analysis of BLM’s fraudulent and deceptive population statistics.

References: https://www.blm.gov/programs/wild-horse-and-burro/herd-management/herd-management-areas

For further details on BLM population estimates: https://www.blm.gov/sites/blm.gov/files/wildhorse_2020_HAHMA_Stats_508.pdf

TEMPORARY INTERIOR DEPARTMENT DIRECTORS ILLEGAL

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Brian Steed, Bureau of Land Management’s Acting Director

“Federal agencies are not supposed to be run like a temp service.” – PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch

Source: Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER)

For Immediate Release: Feb 12, 2018
Contact: Kirsten Stade (202) 265-7337

TEMPORARY INTERIOR DEPARTMENT DIRECTORS ILLEGAL

All Decisions by Acting Park Service, BLM, and Fish & Wildlife Heads Legally Void


Washington, DC — President Trump’s record tardiness in nominating agency leaders may undo months of work inside the Department of Interior, according to a complaint filed today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). The way the Trump administration has filled agency leadership slots with temporary or acting directors violates a law enacted to prevent a president from circumventing the U.S. Senate’s constitutional advice and consent power.

The PEER complaint filed with Interior’s Office of Inspector General charges that the acting directors of the National Park Service (NPS), Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) are in blatant violation of the Federal Vacancies Reform Act. Under that act, any action taken by a noncompliant official “shall have no force or effect” nor may it be later “ratified.”

“The law prevents a president from installing acting directors for long periods and completely bypassing Senate confirmation,” argued PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch, noting that President Trump has not nominated or even announced an intention to nominate, persons to fil the NPS, BLM, or FWS vacancies.
“Federal agencies are not supposed to be run like a temp service.”

The complaint recounts Vacancies Reform Act violations invalidating the appointments of –

  • NPS Acting Director P. Daniel Smith, who did not serve in a senior position for 90 days during the prior year, as the Act requires. Nor did Trump appoint him, another requirement of the act;
  • BLM Acting Director Brian Steed, who also did not serve in a senior position for 90 days and Interior Secretary Zinke, not Trump, appointed him.
  • FWS Acting Director Greg Sheehan, who not only suffers from these same deficiencies but also now exceeds the 210-day limit the act imposes.

Read the rest of this press release HERE.

 

 

 

TS Radio: “Voices Carry for Animals #154”- R.T. Fitch (Pres.) and Debbie Coffey (V.P.) of Wild Horse Freedom Federation, on Dept. of Interior’s plans to kill 46,000 wild horses & burros in BLM holding facilities, and tens of thousands more on public lands (Tues., 10/3/17)

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***Tune In Tuesday*** On Oct.  3rd, 2017 at 7:00 pm CST

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Carol Walker (Dir. of Field Documentation, Wild Horse Freedom Federation) with updates on BLM’s round up of wild horses & foals in the Checkerboard area of Wyoming (Sunday, 10/1/17 on Wild Horse & Burro Radio)

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painy

Wild_Horse_Burro_Radio_LogoJoin us for a special extra show this Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017

6:00 p.m. PST … 7:00 p.m. MST … 8:00 p.m. CST … 9:00 p.m. EST

Listen Live (HERE!)

You can also listen to the show on your phone by calling (917) 388-4520.

You can call in with questions during the 2nd half hour, by dialing (917) 388-4520, then pressing 1.

This show will be archived so you can listen to it anytime.

This is a wild family in Salt Wells Creek that has no idea what is going to happen to them.

Our guest tonight is Carol Walker, Dir. of Field Documentation for Wild Horse Freedom Federation.  Carol has been at the Bureau of Land Management’s roundups of wild horses in the Checkerboard area of Wyoming.  This roundup will result in the devastation of the three largest remaining herds in Wyoming.

Carol has an important update for the public.  The BLM is not giving the public accurate numbers in reports.

Carol’s website is http://www.wildhoofbeats.com/ and you can see her photography of wild horses at http://www.livingimagescjw.com/

This show will be hosted by Debbie Coffey (V.P. and Dir. of Wild Horse Affairs) of Wild Horse Freedom Federation.

To contact us: ppj1@hush.com

TO LISTEN TO ALL ARCHIVED WILD HORSE & BURRO RADIO SHOWS, CLICK HERE. More

Bureau of Land Management: No enabling act or clause for its existence

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Marti Oakley (c) coyright 2010 All Rights Reserved

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Photo by Laura Leigh

The Bureau of Land Management has just announced that it will close the Indian Lake Roads holding pens to public visits beginning in June.  Apparently the documentation of the horrendous conditions at the facility and the deteriorating condition of the horses including multiple deaths, poor food, lack of shelter and the climbing death rate of foals (which the BLM does not count in its inventory) is just too much of a hassle for them.  More

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