By LAURA LEIGH – WILD HORSE EDUCATION
To The Desert Independent
November 1, 2018
On Tuesday, October 30, Wild Horse Education (WHE) filed legal action against the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) approval of the Canadian Fiore Gold Rock mining project. The group asserts that BLM failed to notify and include wild horse interests in the decision process. The filing also alleges that BLM did no analysis on the effected wild horse population that including “page and specific failure” was impossible in the documents filed Wednesday.
“This repetitive cycle of the agency to adequately document, analyze and act appropriately in decisions effecting wild horse populations increases conflicts in land management; it does not mitigate a damage, it creates new ones.” said Laura Leigh, President of WHE.
The filing states: Wild horses are to be managed within limited territorial boundaries. The impacts to the land within these boundaries requires careful and consider analysis as the horses have “no where else to go.”
Wild horses are legally bound to remain within boundary lines delineating what is referenced as a “Herd Management Area,” or HMA. HMAs are a serious of fenced areas for livestock or mining. A significant disturbance in one of these areas can be devastating to a wild horse herd that cannot legally leave the area without impacting other interests or being considered off a legal HMA and subject to immediate removal.
“These habitat impacts effect the wild horse most of all. Every single acre disturbed cannot legally be replaced. Yet the wild horses are continually the most under analyzed in all of the decisions, program wide. An arbitrary boundary line of the HMA and an estimated population count is nor analysis. Assertions of how this will affect the population, with no data provided to support an assertion, is a betrayal of public trust.” Leigh stated.
The organization had requested that the BLM create a supplement to the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and allow the wild horse community to provide comment, input and recommendations.
The agency made no changes to its analysis and simply approved the project.
“Wild horse advocates feel frustrated and ignored repeatedly in decisions that can have catastrophic impacts to wild populations,” Leigh continued “and it seems like the BLM does everything they can to magnify that feeling.”
The group stated in court documents that this herd is so significant to them that they held a board meeting, at this exact location, earlier this year. It was devastating for all members to learn that the BLM had been in the process of approving this mine for over two years and the group was never notified.