Monday, June 27, 2011

Cattlemen's group opposes federal easement plan

A key cattlemen's group has come out against a federal proposal to offer easements to preserve rangelands in the foothills around the Central Valley. At their summer meeting this week, California Cattlemen's Association board members voted to oppose the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's controversial California Foothills Legacy Area project. CCA President Kevin Kester said in a statement that members "by a substantial margin" oppose the plan, which would provide lump-sum payments for landowners who agree to keep their properties as open space. In a resolution, the CCA explains it dislikes the fact that the California Foothills Legacy Area does not allow third parties to hold, enforce and negotiate easements and is not based on a statewide competitive process for easement funding. The organization's vote comes as Fish and Wildlife has held six "scoping sessions" on the project and is accepting comments until July 15. At a meeting in Red Bluff, Calif., on June 14, ranchers and tea party groups argued the federal government shouldn't spend money on things such as conservation easements and landowners shouldn't invite government scrutiny of their operations...more

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