On Tuesday, Joel Hatch approached the Emery County Commissioners with an impassioned speech to request the commissioner’s support and approval of Iron County’s official position on the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) responsibility of controlling the influx of wild horses and burros, and asked them to implement the same action in Emery County.
Iron County has implemented a resolution for the BLM to manage the wild horse population within Iron County at Acceptable Management Levels (AML) as directed in the Wild Horse and Burro Act of 1971.
Iron and Beaver counties have passed a new policy that will allow them to take a stronger position with the issue. The two counties are involved in a lawsuit against the BLM, along with Washington and Juab counties. The Utah Farm Bureau Association has committed $5,000 to aid the cause, SITLA has committed $2,000 and public lands has committed $15,000 to the Western Rangelands Conservation Association (WRCA).
The BLM is responsible for wild horse and burros on federal lands in Utah. The acceptable management level of the animals is 300% over the number of wild horses and burros the BLM should have on its lands. The public pays an animal unit month, or AUM permit to allow their cattle to graze on federal land and have a responsibility for the number of cattle they own.
The WRCA is not looking to have the wild horses and burros gone, it is merely requesting that the BLM abide by its own rules and manage its herds of wild horses and burros as per the Wild Horse and Burro Act of 1971.
Permit holders are being asked to voluntarily reduce their herds by up to 50%. Within a year, it will no longer be voluntary, but mandatory. The BLM, however, is not holding itself to the same standard. It is talking about opening up non-horse areas to expand the already over-populated horse areas.
Utah State Senator David Hinkins and approximately 13 others attended the Emery County Commission meeting to show their support of the WRCA and to voice their issues and disapproval of the BLM.
Senator Hinkins is 100% supportive of the WRCA.
Commissioners supported the WRCA and will take action by writing a letter to the BLM stating that it abide by its own rules in controlling the AML.
Hatch also requested that Emery County Commissioners join the WRCA by paying the annual membership of $1,000. Commissioners decided unanimously to pay the membership fee in support of WRCA and Beaver and Iron county’s stance on the BLM controlling herd numbers in the wild horse and burro population.
Those interested in joining the WRCA lawsuit, need to acquire a questionnaire from Joel Hatch. The form will need to be filled out and returned with the fee. All are welcome to join the group for a $100.00 donation.
Contact Hatch with any questions at (801) 361-8154 or (435) 687-9115.