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Serving: West

Wyoming FB Statement on BLM Grazing Lawsuit

Officials like AFBF's decision to act.

"The Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation is pleased with the announcement that the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) will seek intervenor status in the lawsuit challenging the Bureau of Land Management's (BLM) grazing regulations," WyFB President Perry Livingston says.

The BLM published final revisions to livestock grazing regulations in the July 12, 2006 Federal Register. They were to become effective in August, before a preliminary injunction preventing implementation was issued.

The grazing revisions address substantive and procedural issues arising from "Rangeland Reform" changes made in 1995. Revisions were made to achieve the goals of improving working relationships with permitees, protecting rangeland health, and increasing administrative efficiency and effectiveness.

"The West has always had an integral relationship with public lands grazing," Livingston says. "Many of our members have been affected by the past grazing regulations thus it is so important that the new regulations are not overturned."

"We filed the motion to intervene because we believe the Bureau of Land Management acted within its authority in issuing new grazing regulations and that they are appropriate. The new BLM regulations will benefit ranchers in nearly a dozen Western states," says AFBF President Bob Stallman.

"Ranchers holding grazing permits generally move their livestock to public lands in the summer months, providing an important feed rotation that keeps their operations viable. Without grazing permits, ranchers would be forced to bear the additional cost of providing feed to their livestock year-round."

The new rules make a number of changes in the way BLM administers livestock grazing permits. Among the major changes are the following:

  • Provides joint ownership of range improvements between the United States and the permitees.
  • Removes the requirement that water rights for livestock on public lands be held in the name of the United States.
  • Clarifies that permit suspensions or cancellations can only be taken for permit violations on the specific BLM allotment at issue.
  • Re-defines "interested public" to apply only to those entities who participate in the process on specific allotments.
  • Restores the definition of "grazing preference" to its pre-1995 meaning as set forth in the Taylor Grazing Act.
  • Provides that the primary function of "fundamentals of rangeland health" is to describe land condition goals to guide development of Standards and Guidelines.
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