RENO, Nev. — Congressional Democrats are demanding the Interior Department produce an overdue report on plans to manage wild horses roaming federal lands in the West after the head of its public lands agency told reporters it will take $5 billion and 15 years to get overpopulated herds under control.
William Perry Pendley, acting director of the Bureau of Land Management, said last week he’s increasingly optimistic his agency will eventually be able to reduce the herd sizes through stepped-up roundups and increased use of fertility control on the range.
The department outlined a series of options in an April 2018 report that included those ideas as well as the possibilities of sterilizing horses, paying private parties to adopt them and again reviewing the controversial idea of euthanizing some animals.
But Colorado Rep. Joe Neguse and six other Democrats say that report provided few details.
They said in a letter to Interior Secretary David Bernhardt that an update the department promised by July is three months late and they need it to chart the horses’ future.
“Each day, the number of wild horses and burros in the BLM’s care continues to grow both on and off the range,” Neguse wrote Thursday, noting there are an estimated 88,000 animals on the range in 10 western states and nearly 47,000 in government holding pens and pastures.
“It is clear the BLM’s current practice of rounding up wild horses and burros and warehousing them off-the-range is not addressing the population growth, and we urge BLM to release their plan for congressional review immediately,” he said.
Reps. Deb Haaland of New Mexico, Gerald Connolly of Virginia, Andy Levin of Michigan, James McGovern of Massachusetts and Ro Khanna and Ted Lieu of California co-signed the letter.