The Women of the Interior Department

I have been thinking about the women of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and Department of the Interior (DOI).

Why the women?  Starting with Eleanor Schwartz, the BLM attorney crediting with crafting the Federal Public Lands Management Act of 1976, and continuing through Gale Norton, 48th U.S. Secretary of the Interior (who told a reporter from High Country News, “Human beings are going to be relying on natural resources for a long time.”), women seem to be front and center at the BLM/DOI when the more controversial things need to be said or done.

In their own words, here are some of the women of the BLM/DOI.

Here is Susie Stokke – BLM’s National Wild Horse Specialist:

Sir, we make the rules here, you don’t.

(Reportedly said by Stokke to a bidder at a BLM wild horse auction.)

These last three days, without question, has been the highlight of my career.

(Uttered in November, 2007, after a week that saw 100 wild horses adopted at a Texas adoption event, 129 horses in the Palomino Holding Center dead of salmonella poisoning and 71 horses dead by nitrate poisoning at the Tonopah Test Range in Nevada.)

Here is Glenna Eckel, BLM’s Winnemucca Wild Horse & Burro Specialist:

There’s a social hierarchy here, you know different family bands and now we’ve got ’em all mixed together in this kind of situation where they’re getting kind of rustled around,

(Explaining why a mare kicked another mare that got too close to a foal in a round-up pen.)

And what surprises me is that now, knowing that we had – I can’t remember what you gave it, a certain percentage over. But there’s significantly more animals out there than what we thought were, so I would have expected the monitoring data to show higher levels of use than what I collected. And I guess I’m learning it’s a big country, animals move.

(Attempting to explain why she did not see evidence of devastated rangeland in the Calico Complex areas despite observing larger numbers of wild horses than she expected to find.)

Here is Lili Thomas – BLM spokesperson:

Thomas is the individual to whom the BLM directs questions regarding BLM’s euthanasia of wild horses and burros.

Thomas is also the only woman on a ten-member BLM team that met several times between July and September 2008 to discuss “new approaches” to managing wild horses.  As reported by Laura Allen of the Animal Law Coalition, Thomas and other team members met by conference call to discuss methods of manipulating existing law to eliminate wild horses and burros from the wild, and plans to sterilize the animals and place them in feedlots paid for by rescue organizations duped into thinking the animals are in private “preserves.”  Other team members included Jim Stratton, Rob Jeffers, Al Kane, DVM; Jim Johnson, John Neil, Gus Ward, Alan Shepherd, Bud Cribley, and Don Glenn.

Here is Lisa Ross – BLM spokesperson:

All proposed activities lie within the currently permitted plan of operations boundary.

(Announcing that the BLM’s Winnemucca office would accept public comment until Dec. 11, 2009, on an a plan by Coeur d’Alene Mines to resume silver and gold mining at the Rochester Mine in Pershing County, Nevada.)

Here is Heather Emmons – BLM spokesperson:

The reason we have parts of it on private land is because it is the only way to have access to the horses for certain areas. They are really rough areas to get to. The private land is the only way we can get in there and get to them.

(Explanation for why the first two weeks of the Calico Complex round-up were being conducted from a location on private land that is surrounded by public land.)

Here is Sara Beckwith – BLM spokesperson:

We want to make sure they are protected

(Attempt to allay concerns that the BLM’s decision in July 2009 to approve drilling additional wells exploring for natural gas in the McCullough Peaks area east of Cody, Wyoming would “temporarily displace” wild horses.)

but it was still pretty muddy, and it’s just not good for the horses, to have them running through that mud

(Explaining the need for a one-day delay of a October 2009 round-up of over 100 horses in the McCullough Peaks area, Wyoming.  Marshall Dominick, president of “Friends of a Legacy,” a local grassroots group that tried to keep the BLM from rounding-up their equine neighbors, said the McCullough Peaks range was in better condition than in recent years.)

Here is JoLynn Worley – BLM spokesperson:

Some of the current facilities hold a large number of horses, and we need more space

(Announcing BLM plans in May, 2009, to contract with two more long term holding facilities to hold up to 6,000 horses)

A ban on euthanasia “won’t increase the number of gathers,” the BLM’s Worley said. “But it’ll increase the number of horses we care for in long-term holding.”

(Commenting on Congress’s ban on the BLM’s using funds to kill healthy wild horses and burros.)

Here is Heather Tiel-Nelson, Idaho BLM public affairs specialist:

We really try to protect these horses from slaughter,

(In response to a reporter’s question about the fate of wild horses who are captured and not adopted.)

It’s really our goal that they find a good home with Idaho families. These are really some impressive Idaho horses.

(After a July 2009 round-up of the Challis herd in Idaho at which at least six horses died.)

Photographer Elissa Kline photographed some of the horses captured, including one orphaned foal.  Kline said she

watched this foal go from one mare to another over a period of 3 hours and never saw him connect with anyone. He appeared bewildered, worn down by a helicopter chase and days in the holding pen.

3 Responses to “The Women of the Interior Department”
  1. What flavor of KoolAid are these BLM women drinking?

  2. You want to have a job that gets you promoted? Do the dirty work, ladies. Mar

  3. arlene orlando says:

    I have heard all these responses after several phone calls to the BLM, My observation of the People I have talked to there is , no one there knows what the other one is doing they are doing round-ups because they can, and thats the bottom line… These people that work there have no conception, of what does or doesnt scare a horse , nor do they care what does or doesnt, they feel they can make all the rules and thats the truth……. They are lieing and deceiving you and I and themselves, purely because they can!!!! Nobody governs them, and it is time now that the American people let the BLM know, that we are through with there lies and deceit , we pay their salaries so in fact we govern them , so we must united as one Nation and show them that we The American People will not stand for their Terror Round ups… any longer…… We can do this together…… America the floor is now ours to determine……………

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: