How Does the Bureau of Land Management’s Proposed Public Land Rule Affect Wild Horses and Burros?
How Does the Bureau of Land Management’s Proposed Public Land Rule Affect Wild Horses and Burros?

With the internet, it’s easier than ever to provide public comment.

There is delight in the hardy life of the open. The nation behaves well if it treats the natural resources as assets which it must turn over to the next generation increased and not impaired in value.”

— Theodore Roosevelt

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES, June 15, 2023/ — Conservation is very important for a vast number of reasons. For land and wildlife, protection ensures healthy ecosystems and biodiversity. For the people of the country, preserving public lands and safeguarding the wildlife living on the land means they are preserved for the benefit of future generations.

The Bureau of Land Management is seeking comments for the proposed Public Land Rule. The Rule will create a category of leases on federal lands that would be for conservation use. “Conservation leases would be issued for a term consistent with the time required to achieve their objective.” The comment period on the Public Land Rule proposal is a chance to make one’s opinion known. Statements from the public are being accepted through June 20, 2023. Please click on this Federal Register link to submit your remarks.

The BLM’s March 30th press release states, “The proposed Public Lands Rule provides tools to improve the resilience of public lands in the face of a changing climate; conserve important wildlife habitat and intact landscapes; plan for development; and better recognize unique cultural and natural resources on public lands.”

Tracy Stone-Manning, the Bureau of Land Management Director, stated, “There are rules around how we do oil and gas. There have not been rules around how we deliver on the portions of [federal law} that say, ‘Manage for fish and wildlife habitat, manage for clean water.’”

This writing addresses the Public Land Rule proposal that would open land permits to conservation groups and individuals. It addresses reference to ‘wild horses and burros’ mentioned in the proposal. These new leases would be in addition to providing land permits to livestock ranchers, mineral extraction entities and other users that have leveraged public lands for private interests and profits for decades. The rule has no bearing on existing grazing or O&G permits.

The question to ask is not ‘will’ the proposal affect wild horses and burros. The question is ‘how’ will this conservation proposal affect wild equine living on public lands?

Wording in the proposed document, references ‘wild horses and burros’ in § 6101.4 – Definitions: LAND ENHANCEMENT section. The specific wording reads, “Land enhancement means any infrastructure or other use related to the public lands that is designed to improve production of forage; improve vegetative composition; direct patterns of use to improve ecological condition; provide water; stabilize soil and water conditions; promote effective wild horse and burro management; or restore, protect, and improve the condition of land health or fish and wildlife habitat. The term (land enhancement) includes, but is not limited to, structures, treatment projects, and the use of mechanical devices or landscape modifications achieved through mechanical means.”

Cheryl Turner, Founder of 5900 Club wild equine rescue and co-creator of the Save Our Wild Horses Conference, writes, “Our public lands are very important to human life, wildlife, worldwide biodiversity and the evolutionary, ecological, and cultural processes that sustain life. 5900 Club supports the DOI’s efforts to save our degrading public lands that are subsidized by and belong to the American public.”

“In reviewing the Public Land Rule proposal, it is noted that ‘wild horse and burro management’ is included in the document. No other form of livestock or wildlife management is mentioned anywhere throughout the proposed public rule. Why are wild horses and burros singled out? What does ‘promote effective wild horse and burro management’ mean?” Is this a positive outcome for the country’s wild equine or a negative position?”

“These are significant concerns for wild equine and wildlife supporters. Are readers to surmise that ‘promote effective wild horse and burro management’ translates as reducing or eliminating wild horses or otherwise limiting their populations? A majority of United States taxpayers support managing wild equine on our public lands. Wild horses and burros should be recognized as a unique cultural and natural resource.”

Another question can also be asked. Would inclusion of the wording ‘wild horse and burro management’ mean the proposed amendment would allow the BLM to enter into leases with qualified parties and NGO organizations for the purpose of protecting wild horses and burros that might otherwise be removed from public land then sent to government holding facilities for the rest of their lives?

The horses and burros are currently overseen through the BLM’s Wild Horse and Burro Program. A proposed amendment such as this could be a positive step towards protecting them since it has the potential to provide a long-term solution whereby supporters are able to help care for these equines. A step like this would also offer significant cost savings to the taxpayer funded BLM Wild Horse and Burro Program by reducing the need for controversial roundups and life in holding costs. Inclusion of the words ‘wild horse and burro management’ in the conservation proposal calls for clarification.

Bureau of Land Management Director Tracy Stone-Manning stated in the agency’s announcement, “Our public lands provide so many benefits – clean water, wildlife habitat, food, energy and lifetime memories, to name just a few – and it’s our job to ensure the same for future generations. As pressure on our public lands continues to grow, the proposed Public Lands Rule provides a path for the BLM to better focus on the health of the landscape, ensuring that our decisions leave our public lands as good or better off than we found them. We look forward to feedback from the public on how this proposal will help us best uphold the BLM’s important mission.”

The public along with wild horse and burro supporters can make their voices heard on how public lands should be managed for the benefit of all. This is a major step forward to help ensure that public lands are managed in a way that benefits everyone, not just special interests. Public input is critical.

A sample comment, with instructions and additional submission points are provided for your convenience. PLEASE OPEN THIS LINK TO VIEW IT. Public comments already made can be viewed by opening the Federal Register link shared above. Please submit no later than end of day June 20th.

The beauty of America’s public lands attracts tourists from around the world. People visit these locations to view America’s spectacular scenery, the wild horses and burros and other celebrated wildlife. This is a unique opportunity to make one’s opinion count to ensure sustainable and healthy ecosystems for generations to come.

American Equine Awareness and 5900 Club provided this news piece.

Donna Brorein, AEA Advocacy News, Cheryl Turner, 5900 Club
5900 Club & American Equine Awareness (AEA)
+1 714-457-2958
[email protected]

Originally published at

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