We are continuing to go over the current public comment period for the wild horses in Theodore Roosevelt National Park. The Park clarified at their public meeting this week that THIS is the last public comment period. We CANNOT stress enough how crucial it is for you to make an impactful comment!
The Park looks at ALL of the comments that they receive, and they break them down into categories. We know this from the last public comment period:
“During the public scoping process, 5,138 unique correspondence pieces were received from the PEPC website directly, or they were entered into the PEPC database for analysis. Submissions that were duplicative or greater than 95 percent identical were analyzed as one unique submission. The NPS read each correspondence and identified specific comments within each correspondence. A total of 7,331 comments were derived from the correspondences received. Only comments that were received as part of the official comment period from December 12, 2022 to January 31, 2023 were included as part of this analysis.
The NPS gave each comment a code to identify the comment’s general content and to group similar comments together. Twenty-one codes were used to categorize the comments received. An example of a code developed for this project is Preliminary Alternative A: No Action. This code relates to any comments received regarding the no-action alternative. In some cases, the same comment may have overlapping issues within the same statement; in this case, a single comment may be categorized under more than one code, reflecting the fact that the comment may contain more than one issue or idea. All comments were read and considered, and relevant comments will be used to help refine the proposed alternatives, which will ultimately be analyzed in the EA.
Under each code, the NPS grouped comments by similar themes, and those groups were summarized with a concern statement. For example, one concern statement identified— ”Removing livestock is needed to protect natural resources in the Park.”—captured several comments. Following each concern statement are one or more representative quotes, which are comments taken from the correspondences to illustrate the issue, concern, or idea expressed by the comments grouped under that concern statement.”
What does that mean?
It means that if you submit a form letter, your comment reduced the number of total comments that they received. Each form letter counts as ONE letter – no matter how many times it was received.
The Park tells us VERY CLEARLY what they are looking for:
“relevant comments will be used to help refine the proposed alternatives”
A “relevant comment” is what gives them fact-based alternatives to consider.
These are things that we are talking about with all of you at this time to help you write an impactful comment letter.
Comments that simply say “I will not return to Theodore Roosevelt National Park if you remove the horses.” EVEN IF you say WHY that is – will all end up in one pile that is read, but does not help in this critical decision making process. This statement MIGHT be factual to you – but from a historical, cultural or scientific perspective, it is NOT factual or relevant to the Park.
That is not to say that you cannot include a statement like that in the whole of your comment letter. As a stand alone comment, it does absolutely no good to the horses.
Another website also said that the EA is NOT factual.
The Draft EA IS Factual.
If you are a regular follower of our page, you know that Chasing Horses Wild Horse Advocates has repeatedly said that we fully expected the Park to come back with a Draft EA that supports their plans to eliminate the horses from the Park.
They did that. The Park pulled together their own version of FACTS and put them together into what we now have as the Draft EA.
There are ALWAYS at least 2 sides to every debate – right?
Want proof – google are horses native to North America.
Just because you don’t agree with both sides on what you will find, does not mean that the other side did NOT present FACTS.
Our job now is to find the holes in the “facts” that the Park provided and give our side on WHY the horses SHOULD be allowed to stay.
Look at it this way –
We can either come back at them with educated, factual comments or we can act like 2-year-olds having a temper tantrum spewing out whatever emotional thoughts we have and hitting send on the comment page.
Which of those two actually HELPS the horses?
THIS IS NOT A VOTE!!!! We CANNOT stress that enough!
NONE of the alternatives that the Park is giving us allows for a genetically viable herd of horses to remain in Theodore Roosevelt National Park!
Lastly, just because the Park included Appendix D – the alternatives they dismissed, does NOT mean that we don’t restate them in our comment letters.
WE NEED TO RESTATE THEM NOW!!!
REMEMBER: NEPA requires them to take a “HARD LOOK” at the impacts of their decision and requires them to look at REASONABLE alternatives.
You give them both of those when you let them know that their purpose and need statement is too narrowly focused and why AND when you pack your comment letter full of FACTS on alternatives they need to consider BEFORE they make a final decision.
And that FINAL decision is next.
The fate of these horses is hanging in the balance. There is no time for egos, games or misinformation to be spreading around.
We get ONE chance to save these horses.
YOUR comment letter is your chance to make your voice heard – FOR THE HORSES!
If we can’t get it together and send in our best comments FOR THE HORSES – by this time next year the helicopters will have already been flying and the stories of the horses that USED to be part of Theodore Roosevelt National Park will start to be told.
THOSE are stories I personally have no desire to tell.
Thank you to everyone who shared websites and emails with misinformation. We did our best to answer to that misinformation. Please let us know if you have additional questions.
To paraphrase from my friend Barbara and an incident earlier today:
Congratulations to everyone who helped spread misinformation today. You were successful in taking the focus away from the horses and a NEW blog post that will help others make impactful comments.
I hope to be able to go back and write about what I intended to do today before I had to do damage control again. My schedule is still quite full for the rest of the day. My apologies to our followers if I don’t get another post in. Hopefully the misinformation stops with this, and we can continue with posts that will help the horses.