Advocates Call for Protection of Wild Horses in Massive Wyoming Gas Drilling Scheme
Continental Divide-Creston Natural Gas Project Would Affect Over 195 Square Miles of Mustang Habitat
Rawlins, Wyoming (March 7, 2013)…. The American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign (AWHPC), a national coalition, and its coalition partner The Cloud Foundation (TCF) call for protections of wild horses in the development of the proposed Continental Divide-Creston Natural Gas Project in Wyoming. The project will affect more than 195 square miles (over 125,000 acres) of federally designated wild horse habitat in the Lost Creek and Adobe Town Herd Management Areas (HMAs), and will also have potential impacts on the adjacent Antelope Hills and Salt Wells Creek HMAs.
In comments submitted yesterday to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) on an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the proposed project, AWHPC and TCF called for implementation of protections for wild horses, including:
· A prohibition on drilling in designated wild horse habitat areas;
· A reduction or elimination of livestock grazing in any wild horse areas affected by the large-scale gas drilling operation;
· Establishment of a Wild Horse Protection Fund in the amount of $15 million to mitigate impacts on wild horses and ensure quality and adequate habitat and water sources for the wild free-roaming herds in the area.
“Wild horses are an inspiring, integral part of the landscape in this area and are historically, culturally and economically important to Wyoming,” said Ginger Kathrens, director of the Colorado-based Cloud Foundation. “The BLM must take all necessary steps to protect wild horse families from the impacts of this massive gas-drilling operation.”
“We object to the BLM’s decision to permit drilling on lands that provide critical habitat and water resources for wild horses, particularly in the absence of clear measures to mitigate impacts,” said Suzanne Roy, AWHPC director. “It is disturbing that the agency includes livestock as a resource to be protected, but excludes wild horses. Once again, we must remind the agency that it has a legal mandate to protect wild horses, while livestock grazing on our public lands, on the other hand, is entirely discretionary.”
Spearheaded by BP American Production, Anadarko Petroleum, Devon Energy and other energy giants, the project, if approved by the BLM, would involve drilling up to nearly 9,000 new wells across 1.1 million acres of lands, most of which are public lands belonging to all Americans.
AWHPC is dedicated to preserving the American wild horse in viable free-roaming herds for generations to come, as part of our national heritage. Its grassroots efforts are supported by a coalition of over 50 historic preservation, conservation, horse advocacy and animal welfare organizations.
TCF is dedicated to the preservation of wild horses and burros on public lands with an emphasis on protecting Montana’s Pryor Mountain Mustang Herd, home of the stallion Cloud, subject of Foundation founder, Ginger Kathrens’ groundbreaking PBS/Nature documentaries
Copies of the AWHPC/TCF comments on the EIS for the Continental Divide-Creston Natural Gas Project are available upon request.