8/21/2018 Wild Horse Org Protests Mine Threatening Treasured Herd; BLM Fail

Wild Horse Education Protests Mine; BLM Fails Basic Legal Mandates

A small Reno based nonprofit, Wild Horse Education, has laid the foundation for a monumental battle against the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) over the impending Gold Rock mine. 

The impact of the proposed project is, in truth, extremely significant to the core herd of Pancake, the entire health of the area including transitory movement of elk, deer and the resident population of sage grouse, that the lack of scientific, complete, accurate, analysis of impacts to wild horses is a glaring error,” stated Laura Leigh, President of Wild Horse Education.

The project is located east of the Pancake Mountain Range, in White Pine County, Nevada, approximately 50 miles west of Ely and 30 miles southeast of Eureka. Construction and operation of the mine would result in nearly 4000 acres of direct disturbance  and additional disturbance from mining roads and traffic. 

The project is located at what the advocacy organization calls “the heart” of core herds of the Pancake Herd Management Area (HMA).

In a letter of protest the organization writes: “The area under analysis represents one of the last places in the state of Nevada where a member of the public can enjoy an undisturbed view of truly wild horses in the company of sage grouse, hawks, mule deer and elk without having to traverse extremely ‘rough country.’ “

At the core of the organizations protest is the omission of engagement with stakeholders representing well known wild horses interests in the area. The organization calls the analysis of the impact to wild horses “nothing but a map of the HMA boundary and a population estimate.” 

“At no time in this process did I receive any notification even though we had multiple instances of dialogue with BLM personnel over this exact area,” said Leigh, “Our exclusion, even though our interest was well established, is an abysmal representation of the reality of BLM claims of transparency and public engagement. It is an absolute outrage that I only found this project after BLM declared a very odd ‘emergency’ and made multiple attempts to shut out the public from witnessing wild horses captured near this project zone.”

“The omission of our interest at the table is an ongoing problem. If I had not been prompted by BLM attempt at secrecy of the removal of wild horses I would have simply found out about the project when a gate blocked my way to sit with one of the herds I treasure. How many other projects are happening, right now, where wild horse interests are excluded. We need to take a stand.”

The group has requested that the BLM prepare a supplement to the EIS and include wild horse interests and ample time for public comment. The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) serves as the primary means by which American communities, individuals, and organizations are informed about and participate in federal agency decision making. A “wild horse” interest was not even appropriately informed. 

“It’s a simple protest. It’s a correct action. However, we rarely see reasonable requests granted.” stated Leigh, “If reason is not enough we are preparing to take this matter to the courts.”

Through August 29, 2018 public can also send a letter to the BLM project manager Maria Ryan  at mmryan@blm.gov if they feel that their interest has been omitted from appropriate process, through failure to notify appropriate parties, and they too would like to be heard. 

The button below will take you to our letter to BLM. If you want to comment on this project you can until August 29. Our letter may give you some ideas on what you can say.