Ruling in response to an environmental group's lawsuit, a District Court judge again blocked new rules on the use of 160 million acres of federal land. Read the decision at: www.westernwatersheds.org/legal/SJ_BLMgrazeregs_07/SJDecision.pdf .
The new rules -- the first reworking since 1995 under the Clinton Administration -- were temporarily blocked last August by District Judge B. Lynn Winmill just before they went into effect. This time around, he ruled that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) violated the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the National Environmental Policy Act and the Federal Land Policy and Management Act in creating the rules. He banned their taking effect until BLM consults with the Fish & Wildlife Service, as required under the ESA, and takes a "hard look" at the potential environmental impacts of the grazing changes.
Meanwhile, the Public Lands Council (PLC), an organization of public lands ranchers throughout the West, formed by the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, American Sheep Industry and Association of National Grasslands, expressed its disappointment with the ruling.
"This is a backwards step for the administration of grazing on public lands. The grazing regulations represent an effort by the BLM and Bush Administration to balance the interests of resource protection and the people who make a living on the land," says G. David Nelson, PLC president and a rancher from Mackay, ID.
The ruling "rolls back the practical improvements made by the BLM to manage the nation's public lands under the agency's multiple-use sustained yield mandate. PLC will be reviewing the judge's ruling and considering future action to promote and maintain a stable regulatory regime in which our members can operate economically profitable ranches on public lands."
Read the response at: www.thepubliclandscouncil.org/plc2/default.asp?pID=4069.