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Action Alert: Tell BLM To Withdraw Wild Horse Habitat From Gas/Oil Lease Auction by Tues, Feb 10, 2014

Posted by on February 6, 2014

Tell BLM To Withdraw Wild Horse Habitat From Gas/Oil Lease Auction

Comments Due by Tuesday, February 10, 2014

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in Nevada’s Elko District is asking for public comments on its draft Environmental Assessment (EA) for 73 parcels  that have been nominated for a gas and oil lease auction. Originally, the BLM identified a 214 parcels, but eliminated 141 in order to protect sage grouse, archeological and Native American sites. More than half of the remaining parcels overlap with three important wild horses Herd Management Areas (HMAs).

The BLM acknowledges that if these parcels in the HMAs are used for gas and oil exploration or production that the “[i]ncreased human and motorized activity could disrupt and displace wild horses.” In addition, hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) used to extract oil and natural gas consumes large volumes of water. In these times of drought, when the BLM is talking about the need to remove even more horses from the range due to drought conditions, HMAs must be protected from such giant consumers of scarce water resources.

Please take action below to demand that the BLM revise the Draft EA to withdraw parcels within the HMAs.

Subject: Concerns regarding proposed 2014 Gas & Oil Lease Sale

Wild horses from three Herd Management Areas (HMAs), which account for
nearly half of all wild horses managed by the Elko District, are
impacted by the currently proposed parcels being made for lease auction.
In addition to disruption and lost habitat, hydraulic fracturing for
natural gas extraction requires an enormous amount of water. In these
times of drought, when the BLM is talking about the need to remove even
more horses from the range due to drought conditions, Herd Management
Areas must be protected from extractive uses that are huge and 100
percent consumptive users of scarce water resources.

To fulfill the BLM mandate to protect wild horses, I urge the BLM to
prohibit any oil and gas wells to be constructed on HMA lands.
Therefore, this proposed sell should proceed without the above-mentioned

The majority of Americans support protecting wild horses on our public

Americans have time and time again expressed their strong support for
keeping wild horses on our public lands and increasing protection for
these beloved animals. The Obama Administration’s quest to increase
domestic oil and gas production does not have to be at the expense of
wild horses and burros.

I request that that the Draft EA be reissued with the above-mentioned
requested information, analysis and amendments for the public to review
and submit comments.

Please include increased protections for wild horses in the final


Public comments on the Elko District’s 2014 Oil & Gas Lease Sale Environmental Assessment until February 10, 2014.

If you have issues or concerns or need more information, contact Allen Mariluch, Project Lead at the BLM Elko District, at (775) 753-0200 or email at



Elko District: 2014 Oil & Gas Lease Sale Environmental Assessment, January 2014

There are 8 wild horse herd management areas (HMA) managed by the Elko District Office. They are the Owyhee, Rock Creek, Little Humboldt, Diamond Hills North, Maverick-Medicine, Antelope Valley, Goshute, and Spruce-Pequop HMAs. These eight HMAs total approximately1.8 million acres and have an appropriate management level (AML) of 1,338 wild horses.

Parcels 017-018, 024-035, 037-039, 051-054, 063-066, 073 and 079 are partially or completely within the Maverick-Medicine HMA, parcels 213-215 are within the Goshute HMA and “parcels 154-156, 191, 193-198, 202, 206 and 216-221 include lands that fall within the Antelope Valley HMA.

BLM Stated Effects of the Proposed Alternative:

There are no direct impacts to wild horses associated with leasing, however wild horses can be found within the HMAs and future exploration could affect wild horses within those HMAs.
Increased human and motorized activity could disrupt and displace wild horses. The wild horses inhabiting the area of the exploration could leave the area and move away from the noise and activity. During any long term or permanent activity it is probable that wild horses over time would become accustomed to the activity and resume normal activities at a reasonable distance. Construction of new fences as part of development production facilities could disrupt movement of free roaming wild horses and animals could be injured by colliding with any new fences.


Construction of fencing within a HMA would be evaluated during review of any development proposal to determine if flagging or other measures would be necessary to increase visibility to wild horses. Best management practices along with specific restrictions would be implemented to minimize negative impacts to wild horses.

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