Industry groups, including the Public Lands Council (PLC), the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), and the American Sheep Industry Association (ASI) have issued federal land management priorities for the incoming administration with the hope to bring responsible management and economic viability back to the Western landscape.
“Ranchers and other multiple-use interests in the West have been subjected to an almost wholesale shift in federal land management policy under the Obama administration,” said Dave Eliason, PLC president. “While the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has a clear directive to manage BLM lands for multiple use and sustained yield, instead focus has shifted toward ‘conservation’ without responsible management. The priorities laid out by the associations are necessary to restore balance to federal land management and set an agenda that will ensure that ranchers can continue their tradition of stewardship well into the future.”
Within the first 100 days in office, the associations are calling on the administration to bring an immediate halt to the Sage Grouse Resource Management Plans, repeal the sprawling monument designations made through abuse of the Antiquities Act, address the critical habitat designations imposing stifling restrictions on landowners, and immediately withdraw EPA’s “Waters of the United States (WOTUS)” rule and the Bureau of Land Management’s planning 2.0 rule.
“Ranchers that operate on federal lands protect water sources used by livestock and wildlife, maintain fence lines, reduce spread of invasive weeds like cheatgrass and medusahead, and decrease the fuel loads that lead to catastrophic wildfire,” said Tracy Brunner, NCBA President. “Despite these contributions, beneficiaries of our work continue to attack responsible grazing, essentially biting the hand that feeds them. It is time these groups – whether they be wildlife advocates, environmental organizations, or recreational interests like hikers and sportsmen – put politics aside and appreciate the hard work required to provide them with the quality outdoor experiences they all cherish.”
“It is no secret that all of agriculture has been over-burdened with regulation and that has had a significant impact on our ability to compete globally,” said Pfliger. “From the current administration’s ‘waters of the United States’ rule to the restrictions on grazing permits in bighorn sheep habitat without compensation, there are a number of issues ripe for the new administration to tackle.”
PLC, NCBA, the American Sheep Industry, and the Association of National Grasslands as well as the associated western affiliates, urge the incoming administration to reevaluate the flawed policies driven by radical special-interest groups and take advantage of the tremendous benefits and opportunities available through restoration and enhancement of responsible grazing on federal lands.