September 25, 2006
Jon Marvel, Western Watersheds Project: 208-788-2290
Laird Lucas, Advocates For The West: 208-342-7024 ext 201
Western Watersheds Project – the nation’s leading conservation group working to protect fish and wildlife from livestock grazing throughout the West – has been granted another federal court victory through a further preliminary injunction issued by federal court Idaho District Chief Judge B. Lynn Winmill that stops the Bureau of Land Management from implementing any part of its new grazing regulations that had taken effect on August 11, 2006 affecting the administration of livestock grazing on 160,000,000 acres of western public lands until WWP’s litigation on the new regulations is resolved. Judge Winmill had on August 11, 2006 previously enjoined the reduction in public involvement portions of these new grazing regulations.
In his Order (page 10) Judge Winmill states:
“This analysis shows that WWP has a strong likelihood of success on the merits concerning its challenge to the new regulations concerning the FRH (Fundamentals of Rangeland Health) and the ownership of range improvements. WWP has also shown a possibility of irreparable harm.”
The Court goes on to say on Page 11 of the Order:
“The Court also finds that the balance of the hardships tips decidedly toward WWP. The BLM advances no reason to immediately place these new regulations into effect. Given the lengthy course of BLM’s development of these new regulations, there appears to be no urgent need for them. Finally, WWP is acting in the public interest.”
Laird Lucas, attorney for WWP, said: “ The Court has seen through the BLM’s effort to undermine federal environmental law. I look forward to the entire BLM rulemaking process being overturned when the court reaches its final decision.”
Jon Marvel, WWP’s executive director said: “ The Bush administration’s desire to turn over public lands to ranchers has been thwarted. It is likely that never again will ranchers exercise the level of control over public lands that they have in the past.”
The enjoined regulations would have enabled massive reductions in public involvement in the administration of livestock production on 160,000,000 acres of western public lands while providing for new property rights for ranchers in water rights and range installations.
Western Watersheds Project is ably represented in this important litigation by Advocates For The West’s Boise Office including attorneys Laurie Rule, Laird Lucas, Judi Brawer and Todd Tucci.