Tuesday, September 30, 2003

BLM sued over Robbins deal

Two conservation groups filed a lawsuit last Thursday in U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia against top officials of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) -- objecting to a unique settlement in favor of a Thermopolis-area rancher. Western Watersheds Project of Hailey, Idaho and American Lands Alliance of Washington, D.C., filed suit last week alleging unlawful actions and failures of action by the top leadership of the BLM, "who have overridden the scientific and professional judgment of BLM staff in order to favor a wealthy and politically powerful rancher, Harvey Frank Robbins, granting him grazing privileges and preferences in violation of the nation's laws and regulations governing public lands grazing."
The lawsuit is not aimed at Robbins, only his settlement with the BLM and the BLM officials who authorized the settlement: allegedly Kathleen Clarke, director of the bureau and Francis Cherry, her deputy director. The settlement, achieved after years of lawsuits and counter lawsuits between Robbins and the BLM, stayed all regulatory action against Robbins, even though grazing violations have allegedly continued...

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