Wednesday, March 06, 2013

7 Questions About Wild Horses for Interior Secretary Nominee Sally Jewell

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...more


Steve said...

Acoording to the Atlantic where this article was published, the author was a recipient of the Humane Society’s 2012 Genesis Award, which indicates his biased viewpoint. The management of wild horses has been a thorny issue for decades. If managed properly, wild horses certainly have their place in our landscapes, but their numbers must be controlled. I chastised the Wilderness Society back in 1976 for their blanket assault on the BLM Wild Horse Adoption program and their purely protectionist attitude towards the species. The WS characterized the BLM program as "inhumane". In reality, it is/was one of the sanest and most humane programs our government every came up with. Sure, it's far from perfect, but I'd really like to hear some better ideas for managing the wild horse population, if there are any. I write more about this issue on my blog page, and how the environmentalists turned the notion of "native" species into a weapon.

Frank DuBois said...

Thanks for the link and you have a very interesting blog.

drjohnr said...

Sally call me 307 705 8115