Truck in the pens (© Anne Novak, All rights reserved)
by Kathleen Hayden
1. Wild horses and burros are no less “wild” animals than are the grizzly bears that roam our national parks and forests (Mountain States v. Hodel) neither the states of the federal government have the right to harm Our Heritage Wildlife as found by the 1995 Supreme court Ruling Babbit v.Sweet Home.
2. The Babbit v Sweet Home case found that the term “take” means to harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or collect, or to attempt to engage in any such conduct. 16 U.S.C. § 1532(19)
3. By a 6-3 vote, the Court upheld the statutory authority of the Secretary of the Interior to include “habitat modification and degradation” as conduct which constitutes “harm” under the ESA.
In addition to the statutory provisions described above,
4. Section 5 of the ESA authorizes the Secretary to purchase the lands on which the survival of the species depends. Accordingly, Sweet Home maintained that this Section 5 authority was “the Secretary’s only means of forestalling that grave result [i.e. possible extinction)
5. As a result, based upon “the text, structure, and legislative history of the ESA the Supreme Court concluded that “the Secretary reasonably construed the intent of Congress when he defined ‘harm’ to include ‘significant habitat modification or degradation that actually kills or injures wildlife species.
6. Pursuant to BLM’s 2001 Special Status Species Policy requirement that “sensitive” species be afforded, at a minimum, the same protections as candidate species for listing under the ESA. It called on BLM managers to “obtain and use the best available information deemed necessary to evaluate the status of special status species in areas affected by land use plans . . . .
7. See Policy at § 6840.22A. Under the Policy, those land use plans “shall be sufficiently detailed to identify and resolve significant land use conflicts with special status species without deferring conflict resolution to implementation-level planning.” Id. (Case 4:08-cv-00516-BLW Document 131 Filed 09/28/11 Page 8 of 37 (Sagegrouse decision)