Issues of concern to people who live in the west: property rights, water rights, endangered species, livestock grazing, energy production, wilderness and western agriculture. Plus a few items on western history, western literature and the sport of rodeo... Frank DuBois served as the NM Secretary of Agriculture from 1988 to 2003. DuBois is a former legislative assistant to a U.S. Senator, a Deputy Assistant Secretary of Interior, and is the founder of the DuBois Rodeo Scholarship.
Friday, September 02, 2016
Madeleine Pickens' losing battle with the BLM
A $25 million eco-sanctuary meant to be a tourist attraction for rural Nevada is closed and may never re-open.
The Mustang Monument in Elko County was created as an alternative for the troubled wild horse program, but the Bureau of Land Management has stopped the project from moving forward.
The I-Team has obtained internal documents which show that what the BLM said in public is much different from what it thought in private.
The wild horse program is through by many to be the worst program in the federal government. Bad for the horses, bad for the range, bad for the taxpayers.
Every two or three years, the feds pay for an expensive study, and every study concludes that BLM needs to try something different.
BLM always reacts the same. It ignores the recommendations.
Mustang Monument was going to be a public private partnership -- a radical change good for the horses, the range and the taxpayers.
The public records request shows it never had a chance. An obscure road is an example, Pickens planned to use it to transport tourists from her guest accommodations to deeded property on the other side of her range for cookouts and to see the herd of horses that was living out there, that is, until vandals cut the fences and the horses either died or ran off. BLM won't allow the use of the rarely traveled access road.
"BLM has given her four or five pages of questions about what she would do on the road which include, where would people go to the bathroom? The answer is, it's a short enough drive they wouldn't go anywhere but they don't want to know where, they want to know how many times would they stop, how many times would they need to use a facility. Silly questions," Reynoldson said. A road that's been trod for a century by cows, sheep and horses can't be used to transport visitors because someone might have to pee.
BLM is making sure they keep putting their foot out and tripping me up every time," said Mustang Monument founder Madeleine Pickens. "I keep getting up, they stop me."
Pickens spent $6 million for two sprawling ranches because she was encouraged to do so by BLM. She offered to get other investors to buy another 2 million acres, and take all 30,000 wild horses the BLM had in storage, a plan which BLM admits would save the taxpayers more than $100 million in just five years.
In public statements, BLM said it wanted to work with Pickens, but privately, it's another matter. Public records obtained by the I-Team show that BLM staff plotted the demise of Pickens plan from the beginning. A 2008 white paper discusses how the law could be used to prevent the project. BLM blacked out the details as being privileged information...more