A Forest Service official has explained the fence was authorized using the NEPA process and to even open the gate they would have to repeat the lengthy planning document. If the Forest Service really wanted that gate open you can bet the FONSI would have already been completed and filed.
In the meantime, Otero County Sheriff Benny House says he will continue his investigation to determine if the Forest Service broke any state laws.
Wild horses & wild rides
In Utah and Nevada there are contentious issues over wild horses, access roads and livestock grazing.
Utah ranchers are suing BLM for not removing the prescribed number of horses, which are denuding the range and causing all sorts of resource damage. They are doing so with the backing of two counties, state wildlife officials and the Governor. One county commissioner says BLM’s recent proposal to remove 200 horses is a “joke”.
Another Utah county commissioner has fired up his ATV to take a ride on a road the BLM claims is on their land and has closed. He and an estimated fifty other protesters did this in spite of BLM’s threat to prosecute.
In Nevada, Elko County Commissioner Grant Gerber is reacting to BLM’s order to not allow livestock grazing on selected allotments for all of 2014. He is organizing a “Grass March” where individuals on Memorial Day weekend will ride their horses over a seventy mile trek from Elko to Battle Mountain. Gerber says the “Grass March” is patterned after Gandhi’s “Salt March” in the 1930s. Gerber explains the British government “had a total monopoly on all salt. A citizen of India was even prevented from distilling a little salt from ocean water for his family. All salt had to be bought from the British government. In Nevada the federal government has a monopoly on Nevada land and the grass. The government owns 87 percent of the land, but also exercises total control over much of the private land as well. The effective control of the government exceeds 92 percent of the grass in Nevada.”
Let’s hope the “Grass March” is as successful as the “Salt March”.