The Bureau of Land Management's (BLM) final grazing regulations, published July 12, are designed to improve the agency's management of public lands grazing. But a group of environmental groups have filed suit, claiming they violate the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976), the Endangered Species Act of 1973 and the Administrative Procedure Act. The groups include the Western Watersheds Project, National Wildlife Federation, Natural Resources Defense Council, Idaho Conservation League, and Idaho Wildlife Federation.

The new regs (www.blm.gov), which are to become effective Aug. 11, would:

  • Authorize BLM and a grazing permittee or lessee (or other cooperating party) to share title to future range improvements,
  • Phase in grazing-use decreases (as well as increases) of more than 10% over a five-year period,
  • Remove a restriction that has limited temporary non-use of a grazing permit to three consecutive years,
  • Require the use of existing or new monitoring data to make management decisions, and
  • restore "preference" which is used to determine the stocking capacity for allotments.
Today, the Public Lands Council (PLC), an organization of western public lands ranchers, said it's joining in a lawsuit to help defend BLM's final grazing regs. PLC represents the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, the American Sheep Industry and the Association of National Grasslands.
-- Joe Roybal