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Administration Denies Increases in Grazing Fees

Administration Denies Increases in Grazing Fees

More pressing demands cited for denying petitions.

The Obama Administration has denied petitions to increase the grazing fee on Bureau of Land Management and Forest Service grazing allotments. The decision was made in response to the petitions and a lawsuit filed by five environmental activist groups asking the government to address the grazing-fee formula and adjust the fee in order to, in their words, cover the costs of the federal grazing program.

The responses, issued by BLM Director Bob Abbey and USFS Deputy Chief Joel Holtrop, outlined the administration's decisions to deny the petitions, citing more pressing demands on the agencies' resources. Abbey also noted that in his conversations with members of Congress and congressional staff regarding budgetary restrictions for the Department of the Interior and the BLM, increasing the grazing fee has not been discussed.

Dustin Van Liew, executive director of the Public Lands Council and director of federal lands for the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, said the current grazing-fee formula is fair and accurately reflects current private grazing land lease rates, beef cattle prices and the cost of livestock production.

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