(December 8, 2014)…. The American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign (AWHPC) has joined the coalition of grassroots environmental groups from across the country in issuing a letter demanding the removal of damaging public land “riders” that have been added to the Defense Authorization Bill now headed for the Senate. Title XXX (30) of the bill includes several controversial and harmful public land proposals.
“We’re pleased to join the coalition of conservation organizations calling for removal of this destructive public lands package from the National Defense Authorization Bill. If enacted, these riders would exact a steep price from our public lands and the wildlife – including wild horses and burros – that inhabit them,” said Suzanne Roy, AWHPC director.
Of particular concern to wild horse advocates are provisions to allow:
- Automatic renewal of livestock grazing permits on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land, including in areas that have been designated as wild horse and burro habitat. (Section 3023). The renewals would occur regardless of environmental compliance and in the absence of environmental review. Nearly 80 percent of forage resources in designated wild horse and burro habitat areas are allocated to privately-owned livestock, and automatic permit renewals could stymie efforts to secure fairer resource allocations for federally-protected wild horses and burros.
- Transfer of 11,500 acres of land in Nevada to local authorities to facilitate mining in a move that will bring development closer to wild horse habitat areas. (Section 3009)
- Land trade of 2,400 acres in the Tonto National Forest to a foreign-owned copper mining company. The forest is home to the unique and historic Salt River wild horse population. (Section 3003).
The American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign, founded in 2004 by Return to Freedom, is a coalition of more than 70 horse advocacy, public interest, and conservation organizations dedicated to preserving the American wild horse in viable, free-roaming herds for generations to come.