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Western govs: Don’t change grazing policies

States say administration’s lack of collaboration erodes public’s trust.

Farm Press Staff

December 6, 2023

1 Min Read
Hereford cattle graze
Hereford cattle graze.USDA ARS

Five Western governors complain that the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s proposed changes in grazing rules is only the latest example in a lack of effort to collaborate with state and local officials on resource issues.

Govs. Greg Gianforte of Montana, Brad Little of Idaho, Joe Lombardo of Nevada, Spencer Cox of Utah and Mark Gordon of Wyoming are urging the BLM to pause its changes.

In a letter to BLM Director Tracy Stone-Manning, the governors voiced frustration with the agency’s various attempts to change policy without collaboration, which they say erodes the public’s trust.

“It is disappointing and frustrating to exclude cooperators from regulatory policy discussions, and then requesting that they spread the good word about BLM’s changes,” the governors wrote. “We share in the frustration of our fellow cooperators who have been anxious to offer feedback, particularly given that these policy changes have potential to impact the livelihoods of our farmers, ranchers, and others who rely on federal lands for their way of life.”

The governors continued, “From our perspective, these critical stakeholders have been unnecessarily excluded from the process. We do not mince words when we say that the actions of your agency have eroded the public’s trust.”

Related:Ag groups want public lands rule rescinded

Highlighting the BLM’s increasing failure to hold transparent and collaborative processes, the governors wrote, “A frustrating pattern is emerging at the BLM. Meaningful coordination on important decisions within the agency, from rulemakings to land use plans, is treated as an afterthought or disregarded entirely, especially for our states.”

The governors have been harshly critical of the BLM’s proposed Public Lands Rule, which they say they say would restrict use of public lands to the detriment of livestock grazing, resource development and other activities.

Source: Office of Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte

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