National Environmental Policy Act Under Attack

Weakening of NEPA Could Threaten Existence of Wild horses and Burros

January 13, 2020

Media Contact: Lisa Friday, Director of Communications: (804) 389-8218

Weakening of NEPA Could Threaten Existence of Wild horses and Burros

Colorado Springs, COLORADO – In a press conference January 9, President Trump announced significant impending changes to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA,) a landmark piece of legislation signed into law by President Nixon in 1970, just one year prior to the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act. "NEPA requires all federal agencies to go through a formal process before taking any action anticipated to have substantial impact on the environment." ( This formal process includes environmental assessments, environmental impact statements, and a period of public comment as well as affected government agencies.

"NEPA is a key policy in the protection of our public lands and all wildlife that live there. It fulfills our first amendment right - giving the public and other agencies a voice in government proposals, states Ginger Kathrens, Director of The Cloud Foundation, "NEPA has been the cornerstone of many of our successful lawsuits filed in defense of wild horses and burros. Without it, wild horses and burros are even more vulnerable to removal from their homes and families."

By weakening NEPA, environmental and wildlife protection organizations fear the administration is paving the way for unfettered development of our last remaining wild lands for private profit. The Trump Administration has a history of peeling back protections on national monuments, such as Bears Ears in Utah, in order to open them up to logging, energy development and other profit-making ventures.

The Bureau of Land Management acting chief William Perry Pendley blamed excessive environmental regulations as a major reason for his agency's difficulty in controlling wild horses and burros on federal rangelands across the West. In essence removal of many of NEPA regulations will allow cattle ranchers to write their own Environmental Assessments.

"Stripping away regulations that have been in effect for fifty years will allow development and desecration of America's land and wild horse and burro icons without appropriate environmental oversight," states Lisa Friday, Director of Communications for The Cloud Foundation, "Who will monitor these conflicts of interest?"

Lisa Friday, Director of Communications
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