By LISA FRIDAY, The Cloud Foundation
To The Desert Independent
August 4, 2019
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo – With the Trump Administration Appointment of William Pendley to head the largest land agency in the West, the door could be opened to the sale of lands all public lands in the West, including those set aside for our wild horses and burros.
“Just when you think the future of wild horses and burros couldn’t get more precarious, an acting head of the BLM is named who doesn’t believe that the Government has the legal authority to own, protect or preserve public lands,” states Ginger Kathrens, Executive Director of The Cloud Foundation (TCF) and former Humane Advocate on the BLM’s National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board. “So, what happens to our wild horses and burros if this extremist position prevails?”
Wild horses and burros are protected by the 1971 Wild Horse and Burro Act, a unanimously-passed action of Congress that stated the animals were “fast disappearing” and must be protected. They are a federally protected species preserved upon 53.8 million acres of our public BLM and US.
Forest Service lands designated for their use. Since the act was passed, however, BLM has reduced their dedicated rangelands by over 41%. And if Pendley gets his way, they will lose everything.
“William Pendley has made a career out of being an outspoken proponent of privatizing federal public lands and getting rid of environmental protections, and his extremist philosophies are cut from the same cloth as Cliven Bundy’s,” said Erik Molvar, Executive Director with Western Watersheds Project. “Appointing a fringe radical like Pendley to helm the nation’s biggest public land agency, even on an interim basis, is an act of breathtaking irresponsibility.”
Pendley, who worked in the Reagan Administration under Secretary of the Interior James Watt, identified with the Sagebrush Rebellion of that era and he is an unabashed proponent of a more violent and strident contemporary movement to wrest public lands from public hands. The astute among you might note this president’s penchant for appointing “acting” figures as an end-run around congressional approval, a process that would stymie his personal agenda.
The Cloud Foundation urges all Americans to protest the sale of public lands and to advocate for the protection of America’s wild lands, wildlife, wild horses and wild burros.