Saturday, January 9, 2010

Ruby Pipeline: The Smoking Gun Behind Recent Roundups?
Massive 650+ mile pipeline calls for tax-payer funded clearing of America's Wild Horses

+ Worldwide Protests Continue... calendar here!
+ Ginger speaking with Dances with Wolves Author, Michael Blake, at the Arizona Horse Expo- Tucson 1/16-17
+ Freedom's Story- A Mighty Black Stallion Escapes
+ Take Action Here- ask for hearings on BLM

The Cloud Foundation is asking the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to reveal the truth behind removing healthy wild horses from the Calico Complex of northwestern Nevada. Is it the Ruby Pipeline? It does not appear to be coincidental that the multi-billion dollar corporate project, the Ruby Pipeline, would run through the Calico Complex—site of the controversial roundup of more than 2,500 mustangs and the Buckhorn Wild Horse Herd Management Area. BLM removed over 200 wild horses at Buckhorn in December 2009 without public notice.
Director of the Interior, Ken Salazar, has told members of the public that the horses will starve if not removed because there is nothing for them to eat. The Director of the BLM, Bob Abbey, also supported Salazar’s claim when he stated this week that horses are being removed “to restore an ecological balance” even though this claim is nullified by numerous experts including a biodiversity science specialist with 8 years experience in the range and the sworn testimony of BLM employees Eckel and Drake.  Abbey went on to reassert the BLM policy position that “we will need to continue removing excess wild horses from the public rangelands in areas where the land can no longer support them.”

Yet, documents recently received by The Cloud Foundation from biologist Katie Fite of Western Watersheds and researcher Cindy MacDonald (publisher of the American Herds blog) today expose what may be the real reasons behind the massive, dead of winter wild horse roundups—and they have nothing to do with horse or rangeland health—but may have everything to do with the Ruby Pipeline.

In a written response to questions posed by the Office of Energy Projects (an agency within the Department of Energy), a Ruby natural gas pipeline project consultant, Dan Gredvig, stated that “Ruby will work with BLM to minimize wild horse and burro grazing along the restored ROW (right-of-way) for three years. Possible management actions would be to . . . reduce wild horse populations following BLM policy in appropriate management areas. BLM wild horse and burro specialists were consulted in developing this management approach.” The document is dated February 23, 2009.

Calico Horses, sweaty in the cold - by Kurt Golgart, courtesy BLM

It appears that the public’s wild horses are being removed at taxpayer expense on publicly owned land to make way for a multi-billion dollar pipeline constructed by El Paso Natural Gas Corporation of Colorado Springs, CO. Natural gas and water would ultimately provide added resources to California and other destinations. Given these new revelations, the public has the right to ask several key questions and get immediate answers to them: 1) Who really stands to profit from removing wild horses from public lands?  2) What private contractors, possible politicians, and/or agency bureaucrats stand to benefit from the yet undisclosed details of the Ruby Project? 3) Why has the public been excluded from any discussion of this undisclosed use of taxpayer public lands?

I don’t think it is out of line to seek immediate responses to these questions. The public has a right to know what is happening to their public lands and to the future of their wild horses, especially when it comes at taxpayer expense..” Ginger Kathrens, Volunteer Executive Director, The Cloud Foundation (named for the famous wild horse Kathrens has documented for the PBS/Nature series).

According to a Western Watersheds report this is the largest project of its type across significant public lands in the American West in recent memoryRuby has seized upon a sliver of ecologically critical unprotected public wild land to punch a new corridor through, and bisect this irreplaceable landscape, including many of the last viable herds of wild horses in the West.

The roundups in the Ruby Pipeline zone are questionable,” states Katie Fite, biologist and biodiversity specialist. “The public is not being told the truth. There needs to be an investigation within all levels of BLM considering the unavoidable damage to our public lands. There is no mitigation provided for to restore this biologically wild, remote, and untrammeled landscape in northwestern Nevada and southeastern Oregon.”

Freedom's Story
Craig Downer & Elyse Gardner documented the captured band stallion, "Freedom" as he valiantly fought for and regained his liberty on January 2nd.  "This was an awe-inspiring, do-or-die effort demonstrating the loathing of captivity to a wild horse and his need for freedom.  We can only pray for his recovery from the injuries the sustained from the barbed wire." - Craig Downer, Wildlife Ecologist 

 The capture of Freedom and his band by helicopter, 11 horses. 11:11:46 a.m.
Craig Downer

Band stallion, Freedom, in the lead. You can see the Judas horse, trained to run into the pens so the wild horses will follow, being released. 11:11:58 a.m

Desperate horses, Freedom and his family huddle together. 11:23:34 a.m.

During examination, Freedom attempts escape and gets caught up on the fence. 11:28:48
Elyse Gardner

Slipping as he struggles to free his upper leg from the fence.  11:28:51 a.m.

11:28:53 a.m

11:28:51 a.m.

Preparing first failed attempt to clear 6-foot fence to freedom. He fell on his back during this attempt but pressed on to try again...  11:30:18 a.m. ~ Craig Downer

Preparing for final herculean effort to clear 6-foot fence to freedom... 11:30:34  a.m.

...only to have to crash through a barbed wire fense... 11:31:33  a.m. a bittersweet return to freedom, for leaving his cherished family behind. 11:31:36

Thank you to Craig & Elyse for documenting Freedom's Escape & being at the Calico roundup for the horses

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