Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Interior proposes 75% increase in grazing fees

I received this email today:

Subject: BLM proposed budget and grazing fees

Hi everyone,

I am working my way through the Interior budget request, and came across this item that needs to be removed at once.

Hidden in the BLM budget request is the following

A $15.8 million program decrease is proposed in the Rangeland Management program for grazing adminis¬tration. However, the impact of this funding decrease will be mitigated by a new grazing administration fee of $1 per animal unit month that the BLM proposes to implement on a pilot basis, which is estimated to generate Bureau of Land Management $6.5 million in 2013 to assist BLM in processing grazing permits.

BLM and the Forest Service just recently set the grazing fee for 2012 at $1.35. For 2013, this additional “grazing administration fee” would effectively raise the grazing fees for BLM ranchers by 75%!!

Keep in mind that the grazing fee formula is contained in the Public Rangelands Improvement Act (PRIA) of 1978, and in Executive Order signed by President Reagan that has never been rescinded. Secretary Salazar is seeking to effectively raise grazing fees by 75% with no authority to do so.

On the one hand he is seeking to reduce Rangeland Management funding, and on the other hand he is seeking to make up for this on the backs of public land grazers. Essentially doubling costs for BLM livestock permittees is not acceptable, and needs to be removed.

Secretary Salazar will be testifying on the Interior budget request tomorrow (Feb. 15) before the full House Committee on Natural Resources, and on Thursday (Feb. 16) before the House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee.

I would appreciate your advising your members who serve on these committees of this unconscionable provision and to ask Secretary Salazar : (1) what authority he has to impose such a “grazing administration fee” that raises grazing fees by 75% on BLM lands, (2) why he is seeking to significantly raise costs of operation for hard working ranchers who essentially cannot absorb such a hefty increase.

This appears to be an intentional assault on ranching that needs to be taken care of at once. Please let me know if you have any questions.


Personally, I think this is just a ploy to get their budget back.  Instead of taking their budget cut like a man, BLM intends to get Western Congressman riled up and working to replenish their budget and killing the "grazing administration" fee.  It will probably work...although proposing an increase in grazing fees during an election year is not a bright idea.

HT:  Joel Alderete

1 comment:

Brett said...

I reckon you are right. That and I think that Team Obama has long since written off the Intermountain West.