Yesterday, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a Western Watersheds Project victory in Idaho District Court overturning the Bush Administration's attempt to fundamentally change federal grazing regulations impacting hundreds of millions of acres of public lands in the West. WWP was joined in this litigation by co-plaintiffs National Wildlife Federation, Idaho Wildlife Federation, Natural Resources Defense Council, Idaho Conservation League, and famed Idaho conservationist and WWP Board member Dr. Ralph Maughan of Pocatello.
The Bush Era Grazing Regulations would have :
* Removed public involvement from grazing decisions affecting public lands and wildlife.
* Granted ranchers private property-interest in public livestock grazing installations and developments including fences, water developments, and buildings on public lands.
* Granted ranchers water-rights on public lands currently held in trust by the American public.
This significant victory at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals is a welcome smack-down of Bush anti-environmentalism. The win emboldens public participation and accountability, stymies the most recent livestock industry land and water grab, and maintains public ownership of the West's vast water resources to benefit wildlife and future generations.
Thanks to our attorneys Laird Lucas of Advocates for the West, Joe Feller of Arizona State University Law School and Johanna Wald of the Natural Resources Defense Council for their excellent legal representation.
WWP would also like to acknowledge the decades-long legal work on the issue of public lands ranching by the late Tom Lustig of the National Wildlife Federation. Before his untimely death in May 2008 Tom provided invaluable legal counsel on this critical litigation.
WWP was joined in this litigation by Natural Resources Defense Council, Center for Biological Diversity, California Trout, Environmental Protection Information Center, Klamath Siskiyou Wildlands Center, Los Padres Forest Watch, Sierra Forest Legacy, Sequoia Forestkeeper, Grand Canyon Trust, Utah Environmental Congress, Red Rock Forests, and Oregon Natural Desert Association.
This significant victory affects livestock grazing administration on National Forests in Utah, Wyoming, Idaho, Washington, Oregon, New Mexico and California and will ensure compliance with the nation's most important environmental statute, NEPA.
Thanks to Laurie Rule of Advocates for the West's Boise office for her stellar legal representation in this case.