In a telephone conversation today with Serena Baker, Public Affairs Specialist for the BLM’sHigh Desert District Office, AWHPC was informed that the start date for the WhiteMountain/Little Colorado gather is now Saturday August 20, 2011.Not only does this start date fail to provide the required 31 day appeal period, but also it is 11days
than the September 1, 2011 start date indicated in the “Second Modified Decision.”In addition, as recently as Friday, August 5, 2011, your attorneys with the Department of Justiceassured U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson by telephone that the roundup would notbegin until September 1, 2011.The “Second Modified Decision Record” erroneously states that, because this decision documentis implementing the proposed action in the Environmental Assessment, upon which the publichad opportunity to comment, that the 31-day appeal period is not required in this situation.However, the public has never had the required 31 day period to
the action implementedby the “Second Modified Decision,” which as stated above is different from the actionimplemented by the “Modified Decision Record” as well as from the action implemented by the“Decision Record.”Therefore, AWHPC requests the 31-day period to appeal the “Second Modified DecisionRecord,” in order to have the time necessary to file an appeal of this decision record. This meansthat that the White Mountain/Little Colorado Herd Management Area wild horse roundup shouldbegin no earlier than September 5, 2011 in order that to have the time ne. By this letter, I amcopying BLM Director Bob Abbey, BLM Associate Director Ed Roberson as well as the WhiteHouse Council on Environmental Quality, and I trust that these higher authorities will ensure thatyour field office complies with agency requirements regarding provision of an adequate appealperiod for decision records issued for agency actions.Although the BLM has not afforded the public time to file a proper appeal, the remainder of thisletter will present the reasons why we believe that BLM should reconsider its “Second ModifiedDecision” for the White Mountain/Little Colorado roundup.
II. BLM Cannot Legally Round Up and Remove Wild Horses from the
WhiteMountain and Little Colorado Herd Management Areas
The Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act (“Wild Horse Act”) directs the Secretaryof the Interior (the "Secretary") to "protect
manage wild free-roaming horses and burrosas components of the public lands
The Secretary shall manage horses and burros in amanner that is designed to achieve and maintain
thriving natural ecological balance on thepublic lands." 16 U.S.C. § 1333(a). All
activities shall be at the minimalfeasible level
in order to protect the natural ecological balance of all wildlife specieswhich inhabit such lands, particularly endangered wildlife
The Act further requires BLM to "
maintain a current inventory of wild
on given areas of public lands,"
so that BLM can "makedeterminations as
whether and where an overpopulation exists and whether action shouldbe taken to
animals." 16 U.S.C.
Upon determining that "an