7/27/10

Government Lawyers Mislead Federal Judge on Wild Horse Water

Why is the BLM allowed to ignore both the law and the mandate of a Federal Judge? Are we sill living under the rule of law or not?



This is ABSOLUTELY unacceptable. If you agree, tell your elected officials so, and in NO uncertain terms.
Amplify’d from horsebackmagazine.com

Government Lawyers Mislead Federal Judge on Wild Horse Water


July 21, 2010

By Steven Long
HOUSTON, (Horseback) – When Laura Leigh, an author, artist, journalist, and litigant chased the BLM into the desert to observe wild horse capture after a federal judge told her she could do so, she wasn’t allowed to see horses – but she did see water.
Judge Larry Hicks lifted his temporary injunction and permitted the federal Bureau of Land Management to capture horses in the fierce July desert heat of Nevada. As in previous death chases, the result was predictable. Horses dropped after being relentlessly stampeded by a roaring helicopter owned by BLM contractor, Cattoor Livestock Roundups out of Nephi, Utah. The federal agency had lied to the judge, telling him that death by thirst was imminent if they weren’t removed.
Thus far, 21 horses and foals have died after the latest high summer stampedes.
Hicks granted the plaintiff, Leigh, a first amendment stake in the chase. He told her it was unconstitutional for the BLM to ban her from observing the horses. In reply, the agency pulled off a cowboy hat trick of sorts in the desert. They moved the trap, the pen where the wild animals were to be driven, onto private land in a mountain canyon out of sight and then told the sheriff’s cops to arrest trespassers, including the litigant who had just won the right to see what BLM was doing in their “gather” first hand.
While Leigh didn’t get to see the objects of the BLM chase, North American Mustangs, she spotted something equally important and precious in the desert – water at the fenced off Desert Ranch Reservoir.
“While the reservoir is located on BLM public land, the water in the reservoir is privately owned (i.e., the private owner holds the water rights in accordance with State of Nevada water law),” said BLM’s Washington spokesman, Tom Gorey. “The reservoir is mostly fenced, but the fences are constructed in a manner that allows wild horses access to the privately owned water in at least three locations. As a result, wild horses are able to move freely to and from the water using the large gaps in the fencing.  In short, access to the reservoir water by wild horses is not blocked.”
If access to the water hole was open in three places, Leigh had caught the BLM lying to a federal judge.
“Desert Ranch Reservoir on public land is less than 5 miles from the trap site,” Leigh told Horseback Magazine late Monday. “BLM has the authority to utilize resources on private property to deal with emergencies. (BLM Director Bob) Abbey declared this issue in Owyhee an emergency.”
Gorey acknowledged late Tuesday that there is water available to the horses that are being stampeded by the BLM contractor.
“In general, water within the Owyhee Herd Management Area (HMA) is provided primarily by unfenced public land reservoirs (water catchments),” he said. “There is also one spring, called Bookkeeper Spring, which is located on unfenced private land within the HMA.  This spring is normally adequate to water a small number of wild horses, but because of drought conditions, there is very little water available for use this year.”
Claiming extreme drought conditions, the BLM has delivered more than 30,000 gallons of water to the horses in the Owyhee HMA since Monday.
By admitting that water on public land is privately owned, Gorey raised a significant issue. What was the federal government thinking when it privatized an asset as precious as desert water, selling it out of government control? Moreover, when was it sold, for how much, and to whom?
“My assumption is that the BLM has never held the right to this water,” Gorey said.
It the government doesn’t own the water on federal land, who owns it?
Gorey has promised to research the ownership issue of water BLM lawyers claimed was nonexistent, so scarce, the deaths of hundreds of otherwise healthy horses and foals was imminent.
“Why did the BLM choose to press a stressed population through the round up instead of stabilizing the situation and waiting?” Leigh asked. “The claims made in the report given to a federal judge outline a population so fragile that BLM projected would be dead in three days (if the agency was not allowed to round them up.)”
“In the event of an emergency (such as one declared by Bob Abbey in this case,
 the BLM can utilize resources on private land (not just public) and reimburse
the landowner,” Leigh said. “If the horses were gong to die off at the rate of 75 percent they had the authority to open gates.”
Leigh has filed briefs charging the BLM with contempt of court.
Read more at horsebackmagazine.com

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2 comments:

  1. WOW!!! This is unbelievable. I guess there's no end to how far they will go to obtain their objective of decimating herds of wild horses.

    ReplyDelete
  2. No, there is NO limit to what the BLM will do to exterminate the horses in the wild. So far, I don't really know why, but it has to do with Big Cattle and Big Energy.

    I will be posting more. Please, spread the word. These people are not only unbelievably cruel, they are subverting the rule of law in this country. Incredible!

    ReplyDelete

"From my earliest memories, I have loved horses with a longing beyond words." ~ Robert Vavra