Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Judge partially blocks BLM's Green Mountain Grazing Allotment proposal

Plans for about 40 miles of fencing and future water wells and troughs on the Green Mountain Grazing Allotment came to a halt following a judge’s decision on Aug. 5. Western Watersheds, an Idaho-based nonprofit group that works to protect watersheds in eight Western states, including Wyoming, earlier filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to stop the construction part of the agency’s grazing plan released May 20. The allotment encompasses 522,000 acres and is one of the region’s largest unfenced grazing areas. It runs to the northern end of the Red Desert, and the varied topography serves 16 permitees who share 19 permits. Several of the most pristine sections of the Oregon Trail run through the area. The BLM has managed the land since the 1930s. Its new strategy was designed to help protect riparian areas while allowing ranchers to make a living by grazing cattle, agency officials said. It included reducing the amount of cattle on the land, a rotation system for grazing areas and fencing and well construction. After the Aug. 5 decision by Administrative Law Judge Harvey C. Sweitzer with the U.S. Department of the Interior Office of Hearings and Appeals, the BLM will continue to work with permitees on grazing, BLM spokeswoman Sarah Beckwith said Friday. But all range improvements are on hold. Water development projects and fences cost taxpayers money and don’t protect riparian areas, said Jonathan Ratner of Western Watersheds. Even if permitees paid for the fencing, he would oppose such action because it cuts the land into smaller pieces, potentially hurts wild horse and sage grouse populations, and takes the focus away from the real issue: keeping livestock numbers lower on the land. “With the simple solution of cowboys being cowboys and actually herding their livestock, we don’t need fences,” he said...more

See how simple it is? Let's see, 522,000 acres and 16 ranchers.  Why they would only have to cover 32,625 acres a day, which comes to only 11.9 million acres a year.  So simple.   Kind of makes you wonder why  those ignorant ranchers have been building fences all these years.  Guess they didn't have Jonathan Ratner around to tell them "we don't need fences." 

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