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The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has rejected Madeleine Pickens’ plan to create a Wild Horse sanctuary in Nevada according to a written statement from BLM Director Bob Abbey.

The wife of Texas oilman T. Boone Pickens first offered to establish the sanctuary for horses in BLM long-term holding facilities in 2008. Under the plan, 10,000 animals currently residing in BLM long-term holding pastures would be relocated to the sanctuary. The plan requests a $500 per horse per year BLM stipend to fund the nonprofit Save America’s Mustangs Foundation (SAMF) to oversee the horses’ care. In Oct. 2010, Pickens acquired the property necessary to create the 500,000-acre sanctuary in Nevada.

But in his written statement published Monday on the agency’s website, Abbey said the annual $500 per horse stipend exceeds the $450 per horse the agency currently spends to care for animals residing in long tern holding facilities.

“Her prospectus, as presented, does not demonstrate an obvious cost savings to the American taxpayer,” Abbey said.

Abbey’s statement also said that under existing law, the agency would have to transfer title of the wild horses to Pickens either through sale or adoption, and change the class of livestock authorized on several Nevada allotments from cattle to horses. Pickens’ current proposal lacks a land-use plan amendment and site-specific environmental analysis required under the National Environmental Policy Act to change the livestock classification, Abbey said.

BLM spokesman Tom Gorey said the agency would review an amended prospectus.

“The BLM is asking Mrs. Pickens for greater clarity and specificity,” Gorey said. “Her prospectus, as presented, is insufficient and problematical.”

In a response statement published on her website, Pickens stood by her plan.

“My eco-sanctuary proposal offers a cost-effective solution to the problem of the BLM’s roundup and warehousing of as many as 40,000 wild horses in off-the-range holding facilities,” the statement said.

“It is exactly the kind of public/private partnership solution that Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has stated is essential to reform of the wild horse and burro program. During our three years of work, BLM officials at every level acknowledged in meetings with me that the eco-sanctuary plan saves the taxpayers money.”

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