Iron County calls BLM announcement to only remove 200 horses a “joke”
Do not forget that Iron County sent their letter to the BLM in response to the Cliven Bundy incident. The local officials there only want a handful to no wild horses – something more akin to a zoo perhaps. ~ HfH
From: The Spectrum
By: Tracie Sullivan
CEDAR CITY – Angry over the most recent announcement by the Bureau of Land Management to only gather 200 wild horses off the range in 2014, Iron County Commissioners issued a statement Tuesday calling it a “slap in the face.”
“The 200 wild horses being offered up by the BLM is a joke, seen by the county commissioners as a way the Washington D.C. officials hope to appease local government, wildlife and sportsmen advocates,” the statement read.
The statement also is supported by Beaver County Commissioners.
Iron County’s statement is the latest in a series of threats by both Iron and Beaver County Commissioners warning the BLM that if the agency don’t do something soon to reduce the number of wild horses on the western range –the counties will.
BLM Utah Director Juan Palma said Tuesday the initial 200 horses largely being removed from the Blawn Wash area are just the beginning stages. The agency still has to address other criteria to remove more.
“We have five categories we look at when we remove the wild horses and these 200 are only the first three which covers the horses on private property which we’re allowed to remove by the request of the land owner. It doesn’t cover the last two categories which takes in the range condition and the health and body of the horses,” Palma said.
According to the county’s statement, a recent draft environmental assessment showed the BLM is required to remove 697 wild horses on the Bible Springs Complex to meet the lower Appropriate Management Level. Beaver County Commissioner Mark Whitney however, said that number does not accurately reflect the true picture.
“Those are my stomping grounds,” Whitney said. “I can tell you that there are 2,000 horses out there on that western range in Beaver and Iron (counties) that are 2,000 too many. There’s a lot more horses out there than that 697. Try closer to 2,697.”
Palma admits he doesn’t know the timeline on when the additional horses will be removed but said the first 200 will more than likely be rounded up by June or July.
With a deadline of July 1, commissioners in Iron and Beaver said Tuesday they are done negotiating with BLM officials.
In earlier meetings with the two counties and BLM officials it was indicated that Palma had approval from Washington D.C. to remove the wild horses from the Bible Springs Complex which includes the Blawn Wash.
According to the statement, Iron County commissioners entered into an agreement with the BLM to get the horses off private property on the promise that the Environmental Assessments would be complete.
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