Colorado, 50 miles north of Grand Junction
By Associated Press
3:26 PM MDT, August 5, 2009
DENVER (AP) — A federal judge in Washington has blocked the Bureau of Land Management's plan to use helicopters and baits to trap and remove 100 wild horses from 128,000 acres of federal and private land near Rangely in northwestern Colorado.
U.S. District Judge Rosemary Collyer ruled Wednesday that the BLM overstepped its authority because it had not determined whether removing the horses was necessary to preserve the ecological balance and multiple use of that area.
BLM officials say energy exploration and development since the 1980s has caused overgrazing in part of the West Douglas Herd Area and areas outside their range.
Originally numbering nine in the 1970s, the herd has grown to 147.
The BLM planned to remove the horses in September.