Western Watersheds Project continues its relay of good news ! :
WWP recently won a stay of a BLM decision terminating conservation permittee Valley Sun, LLC's grazing permit on public land allotments associated with WWP's headquarters, the Greenfire Preserve.
WWP joins over 100 conservation groups and scientists calling for Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar to resign his post following the Gulf Coast Oil Catastrophe.
WWP takes a principled stand against Big Oil's attempt to enable the expansion of America's dangerous addiction to oil to the tune of 900,000 barrels per day, right in Montana's back-yard !
An Administrative Law Judge has stayed the Bureau of Land Management's brazen attempt to revoke a grazing permit held by Valley Sun, LLC and managed by WWP to restore wildlife and fisheries habitat.
The 20,000+ acres of BLM land at stake is associated with WWP's headquarters at the Greenfire Preserve, along the East Fork Salmon River and main Salmon River. Valley Sun has rested the land from livestock grazing for several years to restore wildlife and fisheries habitat after decades of abuse. Earlier this year BLM managers issued a decision terminating Valley Sun's permit for reasons related to not grazing on the allotment. That BLM would revoke a permit for such irrational reasons was surprising even to us, and demonstrates its deep bias against conservation.
WWP and Valley Sun appealed the decision and have been granted a stay of the decision during the pendency of the appeal, meaning the permit will not now be cancelled. The ALJ relied upon an excellent report prepared by sedimentation geologist Don Clarke demonstrating the potential harm to Endangered Species Act-protected salmon in the East Fork Salmon River should grazing resume.
Additional thanks to Debra Ellers and Dale Grooms for their monitoring of the allotments and Kristin Ruether of Advocates for the West for representing Valley Sun and WWP in the appeal.
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar oversees the U.S. Mineral Management Service (MMS), the agency charged with regulatory oversight of what has become the worst environmental disaster in our nation's history, the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf. Before this cataclysmic failure, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar visited MMS and personally promised reform of what had become a renegade agency, captured by industry.
It was a nice photo-op. Then Salazar walked away.
The same breaches of accountability to the public interest exist in other agencies within the Interior Department, under Salazar's charge – and the consequences are similar, if in slow-motion relative to the oil spill.
The story above demonstrates that the Bureau of Land Management, also within Salazar’s Interior, remains captured by industry, with consideration of the environment placed on the back-burner.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the agency within Salazar’s Interior charged with designating Endangered Species Act protections for wildlife, remains a stalwart of industry, only affording protections to species via the ESA when forced by a court – and dragging its feet on applying best science with politicized findings that imperiled species are “warranted, but precluded” from ESA protection – an obscure legal crack into which species seldom emerge.
"Even more than Louisiana, Montana stands on the front lines in America's imperialistic war on the environment, a war that is being fought to feed our desperate addiction to crude oil [...]"
Read more of WWP Montana director Tom Woodbury's Guest Column on: