What’s Going On?

Hello and Happy Wednesday to everyone!

There is some misinformation going on (already) about a post we made earlier this week so today we wanted to add some clarification.

One of North Dakota’s US Senators, Senator John Hoeven, has been very active in the fight to save the wild horses of Theodore Roosevelt National Park.  Members of Congress sit on different committees and Senator Hoeven currently sits on the Appropriations Committee.

Congress CANNOT tell the National Park Service (NPS)  (or the BLM or even the Department of the Interior) what they MUST do.  They are equal branches of government that are SUPPOSED to answer to the taxpaying public.

What Congress CAN do, is add language to the bills – in this case, the Interior Department’s Appropriations Bill.  The Interior Appropriations Bill is the request by the Department of the Interior with their budget request for the next year along with an explanation of why they need that money.  Appropriations Bills HAVE to get passed every single year. 

In addition to the bill that will be signed by President Bidon when an agreeable version is decided upon by the House AND Senate, what happened last week was that the Senate Appropriations Committee added language into the Senate Interior Department Appropriations Report.  This is where they can be more explicit and give congressional direction on HOW the money being granted should be spent.

Senator Hoeven had language added to the Senate report that included: “As this process continues, the Committee urges the Service to consider maintaining the historic scene commensurate with the historic herds during the period when President Theodore Roosevelt was a rancher in the area.”

Again, Congress CANNOT tell the National Park Service WHAT they have to do, but they can “urge” them or “strongly suggest” that they take a certain course of action.  In this case, they are urging the NPS to allow the “historic herds” – meaning the wild horses in the South Unit AND longhorn cattle North Unit to remain in the park.

Senator Hoeven’s office, just like the rest of us, is patiently waiting for the Draft Environmental Assessment (EA) to be released.  TRNP has said that it would be released this summer.  Once Superintendent Angie Richman signs off on the EA, it will go to the NPS Regional Office for Herbert Frost to sign off on and then it will make its way to Washington, DC for the final signature before it is released to the public.  Once the Draft EA is released, there will be another 30-day comment period. Superintendent Richman also told us during our meeting last month that they will also have another virtual civic engagement meeting during the public comment period.

When that comment period closes, the park will review the public comments again and sometime after that, they will come out with the Final EA.  That SHOULD be followed by another public comment period.  Once that process is completed, the whole NEPA process will be complete. 

In light of the language added to the Senate Interior Appropriations Report, Senator Hoeven’s office remains hopeful that the herds will be allowed to stay within the park.  His office will continue to remain engaged in this process and they asked that we remain in contact with them, including sharing any of our thoughts and concerns when the Draft EA finally comes out. 

What happened last week with the Interior Appropriations Bill is something we have been working on with Senator Hoeven’s Office and our friends at American Wild Horse Campaign for a few months now.  We had to wait until things were finalized to share – meaning Senator Hoeven can request that the Appropriations Committee add the language to the bill, but that doesn’t always mean it will make it into the bill or in this case, the senate report.  We were excited to hear that it did! THIS is the short term federal protection we have been talking about! Remember: appropriations bills have to be passed EVERY SINGLE YEAR!

We are thankful to Senator Hoeven for remaining committed to keeping the wild horses and longhorn cattle IN Theodore Roosevelt National Park!

We hope this helps clear up any confusion.   Please feel free to comment or email us if you have any questions (info@chwha.org)

Take a moment to celebrate this!  It is AMAZING news!  Please remember that we STILL have A LOT of work to do and a long way to go before this process is completed. 

Thank you for your support and have a GREAT day!

Chasing Horses Wild Horse Advocates is committed to advocating for a wild horse management plan and protection for these unique wild horses that call Theodore Roosevelt National Park home!  We are fighting for a management plan that is guided by science especially when it comes to decisions regarding the removal of horses and the administration of birth control.  Many other wild horse management plans have proven to be successful with their science-based plans.  We are asking for the same for this amazing group of wild horses that call Theodore Roosevelt National Park home.

One thought on “What’s Going On?

  1. These beautiful wild horses deserve to remain in the park. They are a big tourist attraction many people drive from all over the US just to see these horses. Not to mention all the people who truly love them who think of them as part of their family. They have done everything to control numbers with a successful birth control program. To remove them would be very unfair to the ones who have worked so hard doing everything right managing numbers. These bloodlines need to be protected they have some of the strongest DNA for the rare bloodlines in these horses. As well as the longhorn cows. How is it fair to protect these animals at all cost then for them to go in and just remove them. That would be wrong on so many levels.Please let them remain where their home is. Thank you

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