The House Interior appropriations bill passed through committee this week includes language that would “help provide relief from the regulatory burdens that continue to hamper the productivity and profitability of farmers and ranchers across the country,” according to the Public Lands Council (PLC) and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA).
From language that blocks the listing of the Sage Grouse, to requiring alternative allotments where ranchers are impacted by drought or wildfire without the need to complete extensive environmental analyses and many others, Dustin Van Liew, PLC and NCBA federal lands executive director, said the provisions are important to keeping livestock producers in business.
Included in the bill is a permanent extension of grazing rider, which will allow livestock grazing to continue while the renewal process is held up through the National Environmental Policy Act analysis backlog. Often requiring multiple environmental analyses and time for public comments to be submitted when no changes are being made on the ground, the NEPA process can disrupt ranching operations indefinitely with little, if any, environmental benefit. The bill also includes a provision to extend grazing permit terms to 20 years, as opposed to the current 10-year term.
“These two provisions are vital to the agencies, allowing them the flexibility they need to continue managing the resource and processing permits,” Van Liew said. “Additionally, extending grazing permits from 10 to 20 years adds significantly to the certainty ranchers need to run successful businesses.”