On February 6, 2017, Plaintiff, Beaver County, Utah, filed a complaint seeking to compel the BLM to remove all excess wild horses from the Sulphur Herd Management Area (HMA). This request seeks to eliminate hundreds of federally-protected wild horses from the HMA in order to reduce the competition for limited resources on the range and ensure that ranchers’ continued access to public lands for grazing domestic livestock.
On March 28, 2017, AWHC, joined by Return to Freedom, The Cloud Foundation, and Steve Paige, represented by Eubanks & Associates (formally Meyer Glitzenstein and Eubanks), filed a Motion to Intervene in order to protect wild horses on the range.
On October 17, 2018, the court granted our intervention and with that we officially joined this case.
The Status of the Case Today:
The court decided to separate the claims in the case and consider the County’s unreasonable delay claim first, before it considers the County’s claim that the BLM’s plan for managing horses in the HMA is arbitrary and capricious.
We are now in the discovery phase. The plaintiffs and defendants have each submitted their initial discovery requests, and both sides are working on producing documents. Once the discovery process closes, we will be on to summary judgment. The deadline for summary judgment motions is currently set for June of 2020.
On the plus side, any delay, like separating these claims, is in our favor because every day that the court does not hold that BLM must remove horses is another day that the horses get to remain on the range. We will keep you updated as this case develops.
Brieanah Schwartz is Policy Counsel for the American Wild Horse Campaign. Schwartz received her J.D. from the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law in Baltimore, Maryland and graduated with a concentration in Environmental Law. She is now barred in the District of Columbia. Brieanah is responsible for advancing AWHC’s position before Congress and this administration, for producing comments that AWHC submits, and for assisting the litigation teams on all of AWHC’s active cases. A long-time lover of wild horses, she self-published a book with her photography and research on the Cumberland Island wild horses while she attended Sweet Briar College in Sweet Briar, Virginia. She currently resides in Washington, D.C. area with her horse, Eire, dogs, Lady, Drover, and Dandy, and kitten, Pippy.