Friday, October 22, 2010

Lawsuit Puts Federal Livestock Grazing in Doubt

Western agricultural groups say a June lawsuit filed by five environmental groups in U.S. District Court is threatening the livelihoods of more than 20,000 ranchers who use federal lands for livestock grazing. But environmentalists counter that grazing is destructive to public lands and is burdensome to taxpayers. Their complaint seeks amendments to grazing fee regulations and requests that the National Environmental Policy Act be used in determining fees. When announcing the lawsuit in June, Taylor McKinnon, public lands campaigns manager for the Center for Biological Diversity, said the “federal grazing program is as fiscally irresponsible as it is ecologically harmful.” “In responding to our petition,” McKinnon said, “the government must now choose between correcting and continuing the subsidized destruction of America’s public land.” The agricultural groups are represented by the Mountain States Legal Foundation. In an op-ed column, William Perry Pendley of the Mountain States Legal Foundation wrote that, while there have been numerous challenges to federal grazing regulations, the current lawsuit is “the biggest challenge yet” from environmental groups...more

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