We need your help to STOP the “4%’ers” of the livestock industry (less than 4% of US Beef is produced on public at an overwhelming cost to the American tax payer). They are trying to pull the strings of Congress to get around an important Federal Court ruling by attaching a last minute Rider to Appropriations. Say “No.”
As a wild horse and burro advocate we must become more diligent in addressing issues that effect the entire picture of public land management. The historic preferential treatment of the livestock industry has been a key factor in wild horse removals, population levels set far too low and inaccurate structure of boundary lines.
For the past decade, grazing interests have succeeded each year in attaching language to Appropriations (through a rider) that allows permits to be renewed until the Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service can get caught up on a backlog of required environmental reviews.
In late September Idaho Chief U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill ruled the rider that has temporarily exempted expiring permits from environmental reviews only applies to the National Environmental Policy Act in a case brought by Western Watersheds Project. Winmill’s order specifies that a separate rangeland health analysis must still be completed for BLM permits to be reissued under the rider in his state. The Judge found that the BLM failed to consider stopping grazing in four allotments where critical sage-grouse habitat has degraded over the years.
BLM issued an evaluation in 2003 on the allotments in question. BLM concluded that the allotment was in violation of FRH (Fundamentals of Rangeland Health) standards, including those for riparian areas, stream channels, native plant communities, seedings, water quality and wildlife habitat for sensitive species.
When it came time to renew the permit however the BLM essentially issued the same permit with the same Animal Unit Months or “AUMs” (the forage given to livestock under a “how much does a cow eat in a month” equation).
Essentially the Judge said “no more” and ruled in favor of Western Watersheds Project (WWP) that brought the litigation.
The Public Lands council has proposed a new rider to add to the existing rider. This rider would essentially remove the decision of Judge Winmill. It would be back to “business as usual.” (Something similar happened with wild horses when the Burn’s Amendment, to allow the sale of wild horses without limits or to slaughter was slipped in after inquiries by NV Federal Court Judge Howard McKibben into practices of wild horses going to slaughter).
Why YOU need to take ACTION
In essence this would allow business as usual to continue for the livestock industry.
In our American West we are entering into a fourth year of drought. States like Idaho have been hard hit and the rangeland is suffering from drought and decades of being over grazed by domestic livestock. This ruling sets a precedent that an not be overturned in protecting your western rangeland. The precedent could be invaluable in other western states moving forward to gain sanity.
In addition to the “rider to the rider” the Public Lands Council is pushing for Congress to pass the Grazing Improvement Act. This would allow the continued renewal of expiring permits that have backlogged environmental reviews by the BLM without the need to add the rider every year in Appropriations.
URGENT this bill has passed the House and goes to the Senate tomorrow! December 9th!
Find your Representatives in the Senate here: http://www.opencongress.org/people/zipcodelookup
Tell them you do not want livestock permits renewed without environmental assessment. Tell Congress to allow the Judicial system to do it’s job and evaluate the law.
You do NOT support the Public Lands Council rider. The Rider Has been added to the Defense bill. It has been called “Title XXX.” Title XXX must be removed, “Natural Resources Related General Provisions” from the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2015.• Sec. 3023, Grazing Permits and Leases, would automatically renew livestock grazing permits on tens of millions of acres of public lands even where grazing operations are degrading wildlife habitat and fouling streams and rivers. No environmental analysis under NEPA, and no compliance with other applicable laws, would be required at the time of renewal, inhibiting citizens’ ability to protect public lands from harm.
Furthermore you do not support the Grazing Improvement Act provisions that allow the renewal of permits without environmental assessment.
The cost to the tax payer is far too great as our western ranges are used without evaluating consequences and creating appropriate restrictions for it’s protection.
Congress instead should be urging BLM to protect our landscape for the benefit of all uses and stop prioritizing a select few.
Wild Horse Education is an active participant against the Nevada Association of Counties et al (NACO) that has filed against the BLM wanting wild horses removed and even destroyed in Nevada. We are active monitoring our wild horses and burros and the impacts of livestock grazing. Please read about some of these issues on our website and support our fight against other interests as they crowd out our wild horses on our public land. http://WildHorseEducation.org/donate
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Categories: Wild Horse Education