Back in the drill-baby-drill heyday of the George W. Bush administration, the Department of the Interior was plagued by nasty oil royalty scandals and cockeyed public lands policies that brazenly favored energy interests over environmental concerns. But now that the Bushies are long gone, is the si ... More >>
A long-awaited report by the National Academy of Sciences on the federal government's efforts to manage herds of wild horses across the West is finally out, and it confirms what mustang advocates have been saying for years: The Bureau of Land Management program is poorly managed, relies on an unsus ... More >>
When you're a bureaucrat under fire, accused of being a tool of Big Oil, there's nothing like a big, wet kiss from your critics to let you know you're being watched -- closely. Particularly if that greeting takes the form of a giant billboard on I-70 in Golden, not far from the Bureau of Land Manage ... More >>
In what's being hailed as a major victory for community groups fighting fracking projects, a Denver federal judge has ruled that the U.S. Bureau of Land Management can no longer keep secret the identity of companies seeking to obtain oil and gas leases on public lands. The landmark ruling reverses d ... More >>
The director of Colorado's Bureau of Land Management office seems to be engaged in an elaborate game of chicken over the past few months. On several occasions, Helen Hankins has announced plans to auction off oil and gas leases in environmentally sensitive areas, including tracts near Mesa Verde Nat ... More >>
The Bureau of Land Management's decision late last week to seek additional environmental study of possible impacts of oil and gas exploration on the Roan Plateau has left energy interests fuming and sulking over the continued delays in tapping the area's rich gas reserves -- and enviro activists cru ... More >>
When Colorado native son Ken Salazar became Barack Obama's Secretary of the Interior four years ago, it was widely expected that he would steer a more "balanced" course through the energy wars across the West, pulling back on the drill-baby-drill mantra of the Bush years. It hasn't worked out that w ... More >>
Wild horse activists managed to block the complete removal of a small but hardy herd of mustangs in northwest Colorado this week. Bureau of Land Management officials contend that severe drought conditions require roundup and removal of the West Douglas herd, for its own well-being -- but opponents s ... More >>
Last Friday, U.S. District Judge Marcia Krieger threw yet another hurdle in the way of energy companies' efforts to begin widespread drilling on Colorado's Roan Plateau. The plan to tap into vast natural gas reserves in one of the state's wildest places has been subject to considerable monkey-wrench ... More >>
The U.S. Bureau of Land Management can no longer "remain studiously ignorant of material scientific evidence" indicating that castrating wild stallions is a problematic and possibly illegal way of managing the herds, a federal judge has ruled in the long-running battle over the fate of America's wil ... More >>
Yesterday the U.S. Bureau of Land Management announced that it would remove 22 proposed oil and gas parcels in the scenic North Fork Valley from a summer lease sale, opting instead to "conduct additional analysis...based on public input." And the public that's been deluging the BLM with input -- obj ... More >>
The appointment of Callie Hendrickson to a board that helps shape the federal government's wild horse management plan has touched off a frenzy of petitions and protests by horse advocacy groups. They say the Grand Junction woman is a defender of ranching interests who's endorsed commercial slaughter ... More >>
In these lean times, last week Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar proposed slashing costs and hiking a range of user fees -- everything from the cost of a federal stamp for duck hunting to oil and gas drilling permits -- to make ends meet at his agency. But one bit of government welfare is consid ... More >>
In the war of words over the plan to round up thousands of wild horses on federal lands, it's the images that speak loudest. Even as the Bureau of Land Management argues that the thinning of herds is for their own good, critics of the program keep coming up with damning footage showing abuse of the ... More >>
Thanks to the increasing push for more oil and gas drilling, communities once considered out of the fray are being drawn into the controversies over hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking" -- even folks in the stunning North Fork Valley, an area better known for its organic farms, ranches operate ... More >>
Anaquad-Kleinert.The Bureau of Land Management's efforts to remove thousands of wild horses from public lands -- supposedly for their own good -- has generated outrage among mustang advocates across the country, as well as numerous YouTube glimpses of the brutality of the roundups. Now a docu ... More >>
Photo by Elyse GardnerChasing wild horses with helicopters has long been a controversial but accepted method in the roundups of mustangs by the Bureau of Land Management. But a federal judge has blasted the BLM after seeing video of a contract pilot hovering over an exhausted horse and appear ... More >>
Big pics below.Over the past month or two, approximately three tons of equipment and ephemera associated with an indoor marijuana grow facility was found discarded at federal land site on Colorado's Western Slope -- likely after voters in Grand Junction, the area's largest city, banned medica ... More >>
FlickrOutraged by a federal plan to manage two Wyoming herds of wild horses into oblivion by sterilizing hundreds of mares, activists will gather outside a public hearing at the Bureau of Land Management field office in Rock Springs tonight to denounce the large-scale "experimental surgery" - ... More >>
Alan Prendergast's latest wild-horses post juxtaposes a tribute to a stallion named Cloud, seen here, with the Colorado General Assembly's support for Bureau of Land Management herd-thinning policies. One reader supports wild-horse management, as long as it's done humanely.
Cloud.Lawmakers can't make up their minds about America's wild horses. While one congressman recently introduced a resolution celebrating the birthday of a stallion made famous by a Colorado filmmaker, the state's own legislature has declared its opposition to any expansion of range for the i ... More >>
Amid mounting evidence of wild horses being mistreated during government roundups and suffering in poorly tended holding facilities, a federal judge in California is allowing a key legal challenge by horse advocates to move forward -- one that could end up ordering captured horses released ba ... More >>
Days after Congress slashed $2 million from the Bureau of Land Management's budget in response to public outcry over its wild horse roundups, BLM director Robert Abbey announced that the agency was "accelerating" reforms to the program, including reducing the number of mustangs removed from t ... More >>
Ken SalazarIt's been less than two months since Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar was in Denver unveiling his "Wild Lands" program, a sharp poke in the eye to Bush-era wilderness policy, and the reception since has been passionate -- and divided. Among environmentalists, the reviews amou ... More >>
A Nevada roundup.It's been a good week for mustang lovers. Not only did the Bureau of Land Management, in the wake of lawsuits, back off a plan to round up the entire West Douglas herd of wild horses in northwest Colorado, but the U.S. House of Representatives voted to cut $2 million from BLM ... More >>
Flickr.There aren't a lot of wild horses left in Colorado, but a small herd of mustangs fifty miles north of Grand Junction just got a reprieve. Besieged by legal challenges of its plan to relocate "excess" horses from public lands to private holding facilities and pastures, the Bureau of Lan ... More >>
Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar clearly wanted to make a splash when he unveiled his new "wild lands" policy last week--two days before Christmas (slow news week), at a press conference outside the REI flagship store, just a few steps from his old Denver office when he was a U.S. Senato ... More >>
A Flickr photoFor years, the Bureau of Land Management has been aiming to remove substantial numbers of northwest Colorado's remaining wild horses -- despite a federal judge's ruling last year that the agency has failed to prove that the obscure herds are overpopulated. Now, a coalition of ac ... More >>
A Flickr photoDespite a federal judge's decision halting a roundup last year, the Bureau of Land Management is once again seeking to "zero out" a small herd of wild horses in Western Colorado, triggering fresh protests. The West Douglas Herd, located south of Rangely, is comprised of approxim ... More >>
Elyse GardnerCopters and horses don't mix.Last week, we noted that a fragile truce between the Bureau of Land Management and activists protesting the agency's roundups of wild horses was on the verge of blowing up, with lawsuits pending over a proposed "gather" in the midsummer heat of northe ... More >>
Photo by Elyse GardnerA few weeks ago, after an unusual public workshop in downtown Denver that allowed wild-horse advocates to air their concerns about alleged government mismanagement of dwindling herds, activists were feeling so encouraged that they called off a planned protest of the even ... More >>
Elyse GardnerAfter a recent workshop with the Bureau of Land Management's National Wild Horse Advisory Board, one group of activists has decided to rein in plans for a protest. Although discussion between wild horse advocates and BLM representatives ranged from cordial to markedly tense at ... More >>
Photo by Craig DownerA mustang breaks free of a holding pen in Nevada.While his department's handling of the oil-slick crisis in the Gulf continues to draw scathing criticism and political blowback, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar has another ecological headache brewing out west over hi ... More >>
Photo by Cat KindsfatherA mustang at the Fallon holding pen with a swollen scrotum, a sign of recent castration. Months after the Bureau of Land Management's controversial roundup of wild horses in Nevada last winter, official counts of the number of animals injured and killed in the operatio ... More >>
Recent detainees at the Calico roundup. Photo by Elyse Gardner. Amid a stampede of controversy over the government's effort to remove 2,500 wild horses from their historic range in Nevada, the Bureau of Land Management has announced two more roundups scheduled for later this year. One round ... More >>
All Sheryl Crow wants is for wild horses to have some fun.Weeks before a scheduled government roundup of 2,500 wild mustangs in Nevada, horse advocates are bringing out the big guns in an effort to stop or delay the operation. They're filing lawsuits and staging protests, bringing in scientis ... More >>
Cloud, star of three documentaries--and until recently a target for the BLM roundup. The Obama administration talks tall about its fresh ideas and new directions. Especially at the Department of the Interior, where Secretary Ken Salazar has vowed to change course from the Bush years and devel ... More >>
Ken Salazar, the new Secretary of the Interior, who spent much of last week traipsing around the Denver area declaring that there's a new sheriff in town, has taken what he calls "an important first step" in restoring balance to federal public lands policy -- pulling the plug on a controversial sa ... More >>
The Roan wasn't built in a day. The long-awaited, much-contested auction of natural gas leases on the Roan Plateau gets underway August 14, with environmentalists gathering outside the Denver West Marriott to protest while energy companies inside slice up 55,186 acres overseen by the Bureau of Lan ... More >>
It's official. The Bureau of Land Management announced Monday that it will auction gas leases on 55,000 acres on top of the Roan Plateau on August 14. And Governor Bill Ritter and Senator Ken Salazar, who've been battling the BLM plan for years, are more than a little exercised over the move. Altho ... More >>
The debate over gas drilling on the Roan Plateau has become one of the most intriguing and critical environmental battles in the West since the days of Two Forks. The recent acceleration of political maneuvering over the issue deserves close scrutiny, since the outcome will tell us a great deal abou ... More >>
Governor Bill Ritter's colossal snit over long-brewing federal plans to drill the hell out of the Roan Plateau is just what Colorado needs right now: a Sagebrush Rebellion in reverse.
In the end, the plan for gas drilling on the Roan Plateau, one of the most ecologically diverse areas on the Western Slope, displeased just about everyone. Environmentalists, Senator Ken Salazar and an unusual coalition of local recreation and business interests wanted to leave the top of the platea ... More >>
Bush put former industry lobbyists in charge of public lands. Now a deal with a Wyoming rancher has the stewards running for cover.
Roan and Groan
Rich in wildlife and natural resources, the Roan Plateau survived the last energy boom. Will this one destroy it?
Boulder property owners worry that the county's slow-growth policies have become no-growth policies.
One group's unbridled plan would help mustangs, prisoners and disabled kids help each other.
A Denver mining company is looking for copper. All it's found so far is a rich vein of environmentalists.
The feds had a bone to pick with this fossil-hunting family.