America’s wild horses lose another legal battle. Its as if the Wild Horses and Burros Act means nothing. ~ HfH
From: The Salt Lake Tribune
Reno, Nev. • A three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals issued a split decision on Monday upholding the government roundup of more than 1,600 wild horses along the Nevada-California line in 2010.
In the 2-1 ruling, the appellate panel in San Francisco rejected an appeal by horse advocates accusing the U.S. Bureau of Land Management of gathering too many mustangs in violation of several laws, including the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971.
Judge Carlos Bea concluded in the majority opinion the BLM completed the necessary environmental reviews for the Twin Peaks roundup not far from the Oregon line, and that the court must defer to the agency’s expertise.
“In sum, the BLM’s actions fell within the discretion which courts have recognized the BLM has to remove excess animals,” he wrote.
Judge Johnnie Rawlinson wrote in a strongly worded dissent that such deference isn’t warranted if the agency interprets part of a law inconsistently with its overall purpose. She argues BLM violated the intent of Congress to protect the horses.
The ruling upheld an earlier decision by U.S. District Judge Morrison England Jr. in Sacramento that found the BLM acted legally when it gathered horses from overpopulated herds it determined were three times larger than the range can ecologically sustain.