United States Department of the Interior
Robert V. Abbey, Director
Bureau of Land Management
1849 C Street NW, Rm 5665
Washington, C.D. 20240
(202) 208-3801 Director@BLM.gov
DearMr.Abbey, July 4, 2011
Thank you for responding to our second request to Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar to visit Wyoming and resolve the 1993 interim agreement between BLM and Granite Mountain Open Allotment (GMOA) Permittees.
We’re pleased he’s agreed to meet in Wyoming this month.
The culture and customs of livestock grazing can never be yanked from the fabric of Wyoming; not only do livestock caretaker’s raise great children, they freely provide extended public services that are immeasurable. To give you an idea, a sample invoice is included.
Livestock has generated a positive economic multiplier since at least 1873. Livestock grazing has proved to be an excellent conservation practice. Smart states now use livestock grazing as a means to condition soil, maintain wildlife habitat, and prevent fires.
We’re sure Secretary Salazar will bring the message, “United States Department of the Interior respects ‘Livestock’ as one of Wyoming’s four major industries, and will honor the Constitution of the State of Wyoming; in particular Article 1 Sec. 6, Sec. 33; Article 8 Sec. 1. Sec 3.”
A brief reiteration:
At the signing of the 1993 interim agreement (attached) the Permittees agreed to give up 45% of AUM’s as an “interim” (temporary), or in your words “short-term “way to address a drought and thereon improve the range.
Some of the Permittees voluntarily took an additional 2% cut thereon running 53% of their rightfully designated AUM’s.
BLM Lander Field office records show Permittees honored “interim “agreement for 18 years. BLM has not. BLM chose instead to allow an increase in feral horse numbers beyond the maximum number of 250 as stated in agreement. On a 2006 GMOA tour led by Lander agent Bob Ross, Roy Packard (BLM Feral Horse Mgr.) boasted that nearly 900 feral horses were in residence there. In recent years we’ve heard the horse numbers run at about a thousand. This is 3 to 400% over BLM’s agreed upon max.
Not once in 18 years has BLM shown good faith effort to uphold their portion of interim agreement. BLM has chosen to allow “interim-temporary-short term” to grow into 18 years.
Before spring turnout 2001, we flew the GMOA. My wife Roni photographed feral horses lining the riparian areas. Jack Kelly refused the prints when offered (GMOA tour 2001), so Rubel Vigil stepped forward and took them. I’d be happy to ascertain the exact date (log book signed by co-pilot instructor Dr. Dave Callender), and provide you with photo prints.
It’s likely you’re aware of the fact that the riparian area discussed makes up only about 2% of the entire GMOA. So what we have here are feral horses running 24-7-365 at nearly 400% over max, on 2% of an area cattle are allowed to be for short periods of time and at 45 to 47% less than contractual AUM’s.
Now you know the most significant contributor to why, and in your words, “many of the observations identified in 1992 evaluation continue to exist today.”
Here’s what must take place in order to clear up this matter.
Because BLM did not participate in 1993 interim agreement, their failure to perform renders agreement null and void. Secretary Salazar has a duty to use his authority to formally terminate BLM’s non-compliant interim agreement.
Permittees return to pre-1993 AUM’s.
Because feral horses contribute to at least 300% of the problem, remove them. 300% of the problem will go away the minute they’re removed. Construct fencing around the 2% riparian areas, and replace water with a well in an area chosen by Lander Range Con.
Submit detailed reports as to how replacing a controlled (rotate pastures, turn out dates, numbers and more) cattle with massive herds of feral horses that are allowed to graze 24-7-365 improve a range. Because feral horses are allowed to graze 24-7-365, they’ve pretty well depleted the riparian before cattle are turned out.
DOI initiates independent review board, with oversight by Wyoming State Auditor, to determine compensable income losses (combination of AUM cuts and stolen forage) accrued by each Permittee. DOI submits checks compensating each Permittee for his or her losses. For one example, accrued losses I expect compensation for now approach $180,000.
Give Lander BLM agent Scott Fluer opportunity to present the chronology of events. Mr. Fluer knows the truth and history about this matter better than anyone. We ask BLM and DOI to give Mr. Fluer immunity to freely bring forth this valuable information. No harm should come to this fine, professional gentleman… just for bringing facts and truths to the fore. Mr. Fluer’s knowledge will also be helpful regarding the Green Mountain Open Allotment.
Upon completion of these things, we will be amenable to sitting down with you, Don Simpson, Scott Fluer and Ryan Curtis, and initiate a whole new agreement.
I’m looking forward to visiting with Secretary Salazar. His trip to Wyoming holds great promise of getting things resolved equitably. He can use his authority to end federal’s imposition of feral horses and wolves on Wyoming, its diversion of Wyoming water outside its boundaries, and assure its coal industry will continue as long as it has coal.
So we may proceed in good faith, I will call you on or before Friday, July 8, 2011.
Charles W. Sylvester
GMOA Permittee & Retired GM National Western Livestock Show and Rodeo
Co-founder Good Neighbor Law, Land and Water USA, Founder Welfare Cowboy
Cc: Secretary Salazar, Senator’s Enzi, Barrasso, Congresswoman Lummis, Governor Mead, BLM Director Simpson, Director Agriculture Fearneyhough, Auditor Cloud, U.S. Dept. of Justice, Permittees