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Fund for Animals v. BLM

ELR Citation: 36 ELR 20171
Nos. No. 04-5359, (D.C. Cir., 08/18/2006)

The court affirms the dismissal of animal defense organizations' action challenging the Bureau of Land Management's (BLM’s) strategy to achieve an appropriate management level for national wild horse and burro populations on public lands under the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act. The challenged four-year removal strategy was developed by BLM in response to the detrimental impact to watersheds caused by over population of these rangelands species. The organizations argue that BLM violates the National Environmental Policy Act by failing to prepare an environmental impact statement and violates the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act by adopting a plan that would reduce herd populations to below their appropriate management levels. The challenged strategy was set forth in two documents. One document is a short-term memorandum that had already expired. Thus, the organizations' claims are moot with respect to that document. The second document is BLM's approved budget request, which outlines the goals and methods of the administrative program. But while a budget request may serve as a useful planning document, it is not a final agency action or rule that can be reviewed under the Administrative Procedure Act.