Monday, February 8, 2010

Feds deny Ruby gas pipeline is related to wild horse roundup

RENO, Nev. – El Paso’s proposed $3 billion Ruby natural gas pipeline is at the center of a rhubarb over removing large numbers of wild horses from the northwestern Nevada range.
Activists who want the horses to stay on the range say the Ruby Pipeline project is the "smoking gun" that made federal officials decide to round up 2,500 horses in January from the desert about 100 miles north of Reno. The horses and burros will be sent to corrals and pastures in the Midwest and East.
Federal authorities and the pipeline firm denied the roundups have anything to do with the pipeline plan. Government officials said the horses would have been relocated even without the project because land and water resources can't sustain large numbers of mustangs.
Ginger Kathrens, executive director of the Cloud Foundation, a wild horse advocacy group, said speculation about the roots of the latest mustang roundup came from a February 2009 environmental document about the pipeline that stated the Bureau of Land Management will work with the pipeline company to "minimize wild horse and burro grazing along the restored (right-of-way) for three years. Possible management actions would be to... reduce wild horse populations following BLM policy in appropriate management areas."
Executives of El Paso Corp., which would build and own the pipeline, have said they don't support the roundups. In an e-mail to the Cloud Foundation, the firm said it has no interest in the removal of wild horses.

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