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Diverse Ag Groups Form Multiple Use Coalition

Diverse Ag Groups Form Multiple Use Coalition

Wyoming Wild Lands Coalition attracts wide membership.

The effort of Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar in late 2010 to direct the designation of wild lands and his continuing effort to push for expanded wilderness on Bureau of Land Management properties has led to the formation of the Wyoming Wild Lands Coalition.

Members include organizations representing agriculture, conservation districts, county commissioners, renewable and non-renewable energy entities, and sportsmen.

The coalition evolved from a series of meetings commencing in early 2012 in response to Secretarial Order 3310. The primary focus of the group will be on strengthening multiple use of lands.

Secretarial Order 3310 established a new direction for declaring more lands, particularly BLM properties, as wildernesses, meaning cattle could not be grazed on them.

The coalition will monitor regulatory actions, provide information to the public and support litigation that defends multiple use of land. Recently, the coalition retained a Joint Venture of Agrimind LLC, Laramie, Wyo., to serve as coordinator of its efforts.

Wyoming's Gov. Matt Mead supports the mission of the coalition, according to a report from the organization this month. "My interest is ensuring the Wild Lands Order is rescinded and as yet it has not been rescinded," the governor said, adding that the plan "would have some serious effects on Wyoming's economy, which depends on the multiple-use of public lands."

Coalition members were actively involved in efforts that led to Wyoming's involvement in Utah litigation challenging the order and in providing testimony before Congress on the potential effects of the plan.

"We view formation of the coalition as the first step in preserving natural resource multiple use," says Joel Bousman, Sublette, Wyo., county commissioner. He adds that coalition allows better interaction with other areas that have the same concerns with public lands.

"We seek to preserve the customs and culture that are the basis for our local economies," says Bousman.

For more information, contact Keith Kennedy at (307) 223-0010.

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