Hello and Happy Tuesday to everyone!
Our talk with Castle was uploaded to our YouTube channel last night. You can view it here: https://youtu.be/bTrtNh9cJOY
We have also uploaded a new series of short videos that you can share to help raise awareness that THIS FRIDAY – NOVEMEBER 24, 2023, is the LAST day that the public can comment on the TRNP Draft Environmental Assessment. We have some short and some long videos. Links to these are also great to add to comments! You can view them all on our YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCeyTpwa2Y1yUsTaJ4TU-eNw
I just got done reviewing the CHWHA/AWHC comment letter that our lawyers drafted for us. I sent my comments back to them and as soon as it is approved by everyone, we will share it with you. As I said in the Horse Talk last night, I personally wrote our first comment letter and then our lawyers polished it. CHWHA did make the decision to have our lawyers write our comment letter this time because at this moment, it seems clear where this is going. We want to make sure that our I’s are dotted and our T’s are crossed. I can say that our legal team did that in spades!
Something we have danced around but have not fully discussed in our blogs is the “No Action Alternative”. Our lawyers discuss this in our comment letter, and I want to share this with you – especially in light of the Poe documents that we shared yesterday.
The “No Action Alternative” goes back to the 1978 Environmental Assessment. If you look at the Poe documents, you see that in 1995-1998 there was “no single document” being used to manage the horses. Also, if you look at the Park’s horse portal (https://www.nps.gov/thro/learn/nature/horse-management-documents.htm ) you will see a 1984 Resource Management Plan (RMP). This plan was also updated in 1994 and is listed as NPS 1994 on the Park’s planning website (https://parkplanning.nps.gov/document.cfm?parkID=167&projectID=105110&documentID=132153). Neither of those documents refer to the 1978 EA for the management of the horses.
This begs the question, if they were NOT looking at the 1978 EA in 1984, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1998 or ever for that matter, WHY are we looking at it in 2023?
More than that….
A “No Action Alternative” means just what it says – no action will happen. Think in terms of “What happens if we do nothing? “
Immediately removing 150 horses does not seem like a “no action alternative”, does it?
It actually seems like the opposite – some ACTION will be taken.
All of that coupled with the fact that the Park has NEVER maintained the horses at the 35-60 horses that was set in 1978 call into question if we were actually given a “No Action Alternative”.
The answer: NO WE WERE NOT!
Now for the legal terminology from our current comment letter:
“Any alternatives analysis undertaken pursuant to NEPA must include a “no action alternative,” which NPS’s implementing regulations define as either: (1) “‘no change’ from a current management direction or level of management intensity (e.g., if no ground-disturbance is currently underway, no action means no ground-disturbance)”; or, (2) “‘no project’ in cases where a new project is proposed for implementation.” 43 C.F.R. § 46.30. The Park must ensure that the Draft EA’s No-Action Alternative is “consistent with one of the[se] definitions.” Id. “
“Consequently, the Draft EA fails to include a true no-action alternative, in violation of the Park’s NEPA regulations, id. §§ 46.30, 46.310, and agency-wide guidance, see NEPA Handbook at 55 (“Except in limited circumstances (when there are no unresolved conflicts with respect to alternative uses of available resources), you must also describe and analyze the no-action alternative when preparing an EA.””
THIS is why we are working with Eubanks and Associates PLLC. We think you will be equally impressed with our comment letter. We will be releasing it once everyone has signed off on it ~ within the next few days.
We get ONE chance to save these horses. CHWHA wants to make sure that we have the BEST chance to exhaust every last resource to save this herd.
Our lawyers, our educational materials, the extensive advertising we have done, things like Zoom subscriptions, website fees, paper, ink, postage, ALL cost our non-profit organization money. We have and always will be transparent with where your donations are going. We also challenge you to ask us and ANYONE raising money to help the TRNP wild horses WHAT they are doing with your donation. As we have said before, the ONLY organization currently helping CHWHA financially is American Wild Horse Campaign. They have agreed to sign onto our comment letter and will be helping with the fees associated with that.
I will leave this blog with you today with two requests:
#1 – PLEASE make sure that you send your comment letter to the Park by FRIDAY November 24, 2023. REMEMBER: YOUR COMMENT ONLY COUNTS when you submit it on the Park’s planning website: https://parkplanning.nps.gov/documentsOpenForReview.cfm?projectID=105110&parkID=167
When you have your comment letter postmarked by November 24th and mailed to: Superintendent, Theodore Roosevelt National Park, P.O. Box 7, Medora, ND 58645.
CHWHA has created a template for you that you can customize into your own comment letter: https://secure.everyaction.com/9pae2T4Ud0SItoaoX10DmA2
#2 – PLEASE consider making a donation to help us continue this critical advocacy work. As a 501(c)3 organization, we rely on your donations to help us do what is necessary to help save this herd. There are several ways you can donate listed on our website: https://chwha.org/support-chwha/. Your donation to CHWHA is 100% tax deductible!
A GREAT way you can help is by donating items to our silent auction that starts THIS FRIDAY (November 24th)! You can donate items or services here: https://chwha.betterworld.org/donate-an-item You can also help by bidding on the items starting this Friday! You can view the items here https://chwha.betterworld.org/auctions/chwha-giving-hearts-day-silent-a (please check back we have more to add!)
Thank you to everyone who has already sent in your comment letter. Remember, if there are points that you didn’t make that you wish you did, please send in another comment. Think of it this way, FRIDAY is your LAST chance to comment on the Draft EA and what YOU want to see in the future management of these amazing wild horses. Make sure your voice is heard. These are OUR horses that are living wild and free in OUR national park. We ABSOLUTELY have the right to demand that our voices are being heard!
Lastly, please DO NOT think that this is all over on Friday. As we always say, we are fighting this from EVERY angle – and we already are working on some Calls to Action for you NEXT WEEK to help save this herd!
Thank you for your support and have a GREAT day!