BLM Backs Down On Public Land Grazing Rule Changes

Online Messenger #100

Here is the News Release sent out by WWP August 9, 2005 about the BLM's decision to delay implementation of new grazing rules for 160,000,000 acres of western public lands. To read the BLM news release go to:

August 9, 2005
Western Watersheds Project
News Release
Contacts: Jon Marvel, Executive Director Western Watersheds Project: 208-788-2290

The Bureau Of Land Management Backs Down On Public Lands Ranching Rules!

On August 9, 2005 The Washington Office of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) announced that the agency would be preparing a Supplemental Environmental impact Statement on proposed changes to Grazing Regulations affecting over 160,000,000 acres of western public lands permitted for livestock grazing.

The announcement is in response to unfavorable national publicity and to federal court litigation filed on July 21, 2005 by Western Watersheds Project (WWP), a regional conservation organization based in Hailey, Idaho. The WWP lawsuit asked the federal district court in Idaho to block implementation of the BLM's proposed changes in public lands grazing regulations before they could be implemented because of numerous violations of federal law including the National Environmental Policy Act and the Endangered Species Act.

Jon Marvel, executive director of Western Watersheds Project, said: "The withdrawal of these proposed grazing regulations and the development of a Supplemental EIS by the BLM is an acknowledgment of the failure of the agency to comply with the law. I would advise the BLM to consider dropping this whole effort and not waste more taxpayer funds on an obvious attempt to undermine environmental protections for western public lands."

The BLM's admission of the need for more work on their public lands grazing Environmental Impact Statement follows much negative publicity in the national media about the suppression of science and individual scientists in the preparation of the first EIS for grazing that was published in the federal register in June 2005.

Two articles in the Los Angeles Times and national coverage on Public Television's NOW with David Brancaccio underscored the BLM's questionable behavior in seeking to protect public lands ranching over other uses of western public lands while at the same time suppressing public involvement in grazing management decisions.