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Environmental Science & Management Research Guide

Research Question

  What is the body of law on the protection of wild horses and burros?
Statutory Law
A federal statute with the popular name Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act was passed in 1971 by the 92nd Congress as Pub. L. 92-195. The statute was officially published in Statutes at Large as 85 Stat. 649 and it was codified, along with subsequent amendments to the original 1971 act, in the United States Code as 16 U.S.C. 1331-1340.
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Legislative History


Case Law
There are two major federal court cases that have ruled on the legality of the statute. In Kleppe v. New Mexico (published in United States Reports as 426 U.S. 529) the United States Supreme Court in 1976 ruled that the act is a valid exercise of Congress's power under the Property Clause of the Constitution. In Mountain States Legal Foundation v. Hodel (published in Federal Reporter, Second Series as 799 F. 2nd 1423) the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in 1986 upheld the statute against claims that it resulted in a taking of private property by protecting wild horses grazing on private lands.
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Administrative Law
Federal administrative regulations relating to wild horse and burro protection and management appear in the Code of Federal Regulations in two parts since the code is organized by agency and both the U.S. Forest Service and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management are the responsible agencies. Regulations appear in 43 C.F.R. 4700 and in 36 C.F.R 222


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