GROUPS FILE PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION AND TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER TO BLOCK WYOMING CHECKERBOARD ROUNDUP
BLM intends to round up 500 Wild Horses starting October 18
CHEYENNE, WY. (Oct. 7, 2016) – In an ongoing legal battle to protect Wyoming Checkerboard Wild Horses from BLM roundup, The Cloud Foundation (TCF), The American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign (AWHPC), Return to Freedom (RTF) and photographers Carol Walker and Kimerlee Curyl filed a motion for a Preliminary Injunction/Temporary Restraining Order in US District Court in Wyoming yesterday. The BLM has announced that it intends to begin rounding up wild horses in the Adobe Town, Salt Wells Creek and Great Divide Basin Herd Management Areas (HMAs) on Oct. 18.
“The BLM is treating over one million acres of public land in the Checkerboard as private land, and is proceeding to eradicate wild horses from these public lands at the request of private livestock grazing interests,” said Bill Eubanks of Meyer Glitzenstein & Eubanks LLP, which is representing the plaintiffs. “This unprecedented action is illegal and the subject of a pending appeal at the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals. We believe the court must enjoin BLM from proceeding with this roundup at least until the Tenth Circuit has ruled on this precedent-setting issue that has implications for wild horses across the West.”
On Monday, October 3, the groups filed a lawsuit challenging the roundup. It is the latest chapter in an ongoing legal battle over the BLM’s plan to eradicate wild horses from a two-million-acre area of public and private land at the request of the Rock Springs Grazing Association (RSGA). The RSGA owns or leases the private land blocks in the Checkerboard and views wild horses as competition for taxpayer subsidized livestock grazing on the public lands in the area.
On September 19, 2016 the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments on the plaintiffs’ appeal of a lawsuit challenging the 2014 BLM Checkerboard roundup in which 1,263 wild horses were rounded up by helicopters and removed from the range. At issue in both cases is the legality of the BLM’s reliance on a request from private landowners to remove wild horses from private lands as an excuse to eradicate them from the public lands in the area as well.
"This is just the latest action to try and prevent the BLM from handing control of over one million acres of public land to private grazing interests,” states Ginger Kathrens, Founder and Executive Director of TCF. “Rather than prudently waiting a decision in the Sept. case, the BLM has chosen to jump the gun and move ahead with the roundup,” she continues. “Until Checkerboard lands are consolidated into large blocks of private and public lands, the BLM will continue to try and eradicate all wild horses from the area,treating public lands as private, and setting a dangerous precedent not only for wild horses across the west but also for our public lands."