WESTERNERS APPEAL WYOMING WILD HORSE RULING
December 30, 2011 - For Immediate Release
DENVER, CO. Three western groups today appealed a ruling by a Wyoming federal district court that they could not participate in a federal lawsuit to join in demanding that the United States adhere to statutory obligations and federal court orders with regard to the management of wild horses in Wyoming. Mountain States Legal Foundation (MSLF), the Wyoming Stock Growers Association, and the Wyoming County Commissioners Association, all represented by MSLF moved to participate as amici curiae in a lawsuit by the Rock Springs Grazing Association (RSGA) in Wyoming federal district court, but a magistrate judge denied that motion. The lawsuit concerns the management, by the Bureau of Land Management, of wild horses on federal, state, and private lands in Sweetwater County, one of the Nation’s largest counties, in central Wyoming along Colorado’s border. The lawsuit, which was filed in July 2011, is the continuation of litigation filed by MSLF more than thirty years ago.
“We believe the magistrate judge’s ruling is in error; therefore, we ask the district court judge to reverse the ruling to permit Mountain States Legal Foundation to protect the interest of our clients, who are not represented in this case, said William Perry Pendley, MSLF president.
In 1979, in one of its first lawsuits, MSLF, on behalf of the RSGA, sued the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) for its refusal to obey the Wild and Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act by removing wild horses from grazing lands used by RSGA members.
In March 1981, the Wyoming federal district court entered an order requiring the BLM to remove excess wild horses to permit RSGA members to use their lands and engage in livestock grazing. In March 1982, the court issued another order setting new limits for wild horses and ordering that the BLM comply by September 1984. When the BLM failed to comply with the order, MSLF sought a show cause order; the BLM confessed error and then entered into a stipulation agreement: it would remove excess wild horses.
Within a decade, however, the BLM was again out of compliance with federal law, the Wyoming district court’s orders, and the BLM’s stipulation agreement. In 2003, the State of Wyoming sued. The BLM confessed error and entered into a Consent Decree. In time, the BLM’s compliance with the decree suffered from poor management and inaccurate methodologies.
In 2009 and 2010, the BLM removed no wild horses and now refuses to comply with the court’s orders; rather, the BLM demands that livestock grazing end. On July 27, 2011, the RSGA sued to enforce the court’s orders or for a declaratory judgment that the BLM must remove wild horses.
Mountain States Legal Foundation, created in 1977, is a nonprofit, public-interest legal foundation dedicated to individual liberty, the right to own and use property, limited and ethical government, and the free enterprise system. Its offices are in suburban Denver, Colorado.
Mountain States Legal Foundation (MSLF) is a nonprofit,
public interest legal foundation dedicated to individual liberty, the right
to own and use property, limited and ethical government, and economic freedom. It is an Internal Revenue Code 501(c)(3) entity
incorporated in the State of Colorado. Csontributions
to Mountain States Legal Foundation are tax deductible.
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