Sec. 302 (a)of the Federal Land Management & Policy Act requires the Secretary to manage BLM lands under the principles of multiple use and sustained yield, in accordance with available land use plans developed under Sec. 202 of FLPMA.
There is one exception: where a tract of the BLM lands has been dedicated to specific uses according to other provisions of law, it shall be managed in accordance with such laws.
Here we have yet another FEDERAL STATUTE that IF enforced, would require that the BLM adhere to the provisions of the WFH&B Act, which means managing them on their historic rangelands NO MATTER what else they may have planned for those lands....under this provision of the FLMPA, the wild ones COULD NOT be removed from their historic rangelands FOR ANY REASON (other than emergencies) as the land was designated principally for their use PRIOR to the passage of the FLMPA. Section 302(a) of FLMPA EXEMPTS those lands marked out by the BLM as "principally for wild horse and burro use" from FLMPAs' "Multiple use and sustained yield" requirements .
Of course, the language of the WFH&B Act of 1971 itself indicates that wild horse and burro ranges MAY be used for other uses (as long as the principal use is for the wild ones) but absent the FLMPA "multiple use and sustained yield" requirements, there is no statutorily required "balancing" of all resources nor any "sustained yield" requirments to consider when making land use decisions in wild horse and burro lands- as the relevant laws are clear that the lands marked out by the BLM after the passage of the 1971 WFH&B Act intend that those lands be reserved throughout eternity as principally for wild horse and burro use. The relevant laws are The WFH&B Act if 1971 itself,....and Code of Federal Rules (CFR) another federal statute, sec. 4710.5 also indicates that in matters of conflict of resources,...the BLM "may,"....."if necessary to provide habitat for wild horses or burros, to implement herd management actions, or to protect wild horses and burros from disease, harassment or injury, the autrhorized officer MAY close appropriate areas of the public lands to grazing use by all or a particular kind of livestock."
These two federal statutes, coupled with Sec. 302(a) of the FLMPA as mentioned above, which exempts designated wild horse and burro ranges from the "multiple use and sustained yield" requirements, if enforced, would serve efficient enough protections to insure the wild herds a statutory right to remain on their traditional and historic rangelands. (Getting the BLM to maintain the herds in viable numbers is another thing all together.)
The importance of the exemption under the Sec. 302(a) of the FLMPA is this: one of the general reasons the BLm uses to rely on in deciding to remove the herds or declimate their numbers is their claim that they must do so in order to comply with the "multiple use and sustained yield" provisions of FLMPA when in fact,...persuant to Sec. 302(a)of that act,..those provisions DO NOT apply for wild horse and burro range since it was designated PRIOR to the FLMPA,...as principally for their use.
Enforce the existing laws and there is no need for no new act - but what IS needed is an amendment to the 1971 Act that will strike out the Burns Rider and (maybe) replace it with (Madeline) Pickins Plan (that would concern only the placement of those horses and burros LEGALLY removed from their historic rangelands.)
As for the rest, we pray for a return to freedom for them, upon their own (historic) and statutorily protected lands. Without statutory entitlement to their historic lands,...the wild ones will in effect, be without a homeland, and America will have lost not only its wild and free roaming herds, but will have lost millions of acres of historic wild horse rangeland to boot.
What will become of our historic wild horse rangelands once the wild ones are gone?
We will look out upon the lands and see gas and oil rigs, utility corridors, wind farms and the like, and we will think to ourselves in quiet resignation, "Wild horses and burros used to roam free here - it used to be their land." And maybe we will ask ourselves, "why did we let their right to these lands slip away?"
We are fighting hard, but we must fight harder,...in one voice saying: keep their historic rangelands as "principally for their use." This is a right of the wild ones that we must fight for or lose forever. This provision of the WFH&B Act of 1971 is the "deed" to their land and is the only thing holding them there. Absent this provision, there is no legal or statutory "right" for them to be upon ANY land but will be left to the sole discretion of the BLM of where to put them and with whom. And now, the question begs asking, "do we trust the BLM to do the right thing for the wild ones?" As for me, I will put my trust in the laws as mentioned above and fight harder to get them enforced.
What say you, amigos?