7 Questions About Wild Horses for Interior Secretary Nominee Sally Jewell
Her predecessor presided over roundups and the sale of horses for slaughter. Without equine or ranching experience, what will this former executive do to right the wrongs?
(Note – This is an excellent article about the BLM and the possible direction it will take under Sally Jewell. Only a small portion is reprinted here to gain your interest. For the entire article, go HERE to read, see the videos and comment. – Jerry)
On Thursday on Capitol Hill, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a confirmation hearing to consider the nomination of Sally Jewell for the position of Secretary of the Interior. She comes to the room offering some measure of comfort to two of the primary constituencies that care most about the post. Big oil? Check — she worked for years for Mobil Oil, out in the oil and gas fields of Oklahoma. Environmentalists? Check — she comes to Washington, D.C., from R.E.I., the “outdoor recreation” company, where she was a longtime advocate for conservation.
But Jewell is mostly a blank slate when it comes to two key areas of the Interior Department’s portfolio which are in famous and direct conflict with one another. The first relates to the federal government’s complicated relationship with the ranching and livestock industries. Jewell does not appear to have much of a public record when it comes to her views on the concept of welfare ranching — the age-old, under-reported pork-barrel policy by which the federal government practically gives away the use of our public land to private ranching and farming interests by means of well-below-market lease rates.
The second unknown area of Jewell’s resume involves the fate of nation’s wild horses, which roam public lands and which have suffered greatly over the past few years as a result of the ruinous policies of Jewell’s would-be predecessor, Ken Salazar. For wild horse advocates, the good news is that Jewell doesn’t come from a longtime ranching family, as Salazar did, or have a long record of hostility to the nation’s herds, as he does.
The bad news is that Jewell may today know so little about the legal status of the horses, and so little about the political and economic background of their current predicament. that she may not be able to quickly focus on their situation. And that, these advocates fear, could be catastrophic to the herds.
Despite Jewell’s background with Mobil, she will likely be tagged on Thursday by Republicans for being too much of an conservationist. And despite her history of work on conservation causes, she may be tagged by Democrats for her career in oil — and also for her benefactor’s disappointing record of conservation during his first term in the White House. In either instance, the topic of wild horses isn’t likely to be raised at all. The ranching and livestock lobby certainly doesn’t want to bring attention to their recent success in ridding the range lands of the horses. And the horse lobby isn’t now strong enough to force a senator, a committee — or Congress as a whole — to yet raise a ruckus.
With all this in mind, here are the seven horse-related issues Jewell should have to address before she is confirmed for the post.
1. The slaughter of wild horses. Under the direction of Secretary Salazar, and at the behest of the powerful ranching, livestock, oil and gas lobbies, the Bureau of Land Management in the past few years has rounded up approximately 37,000 of the nation’s wild horses from public lands. These roundups are cruel, often deadly, and always hazardous to the health and safety of the animals. Madame Secretary-designate, please take a few minutes to watch this video:
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