Thursday, January 05, 2017

Ranchers spar with Obama over new national monuments in Utah and Nevada

With the exception of his time spent serving in the Army during the Vietnam War, Sandy Johnson has spent most of his 67 years running cattle in southeastern Utah’s starkly beautiful San Juan County. Like many of his fellow ranchers, Johnson has leased land from the federal government for decades to graze his cattle on open range. But President Obama’s recent establishment of the Bears Ears National Monument in Utah and the Gold Butte National Monument in Nevada has caused Johnson and his neighbors to worry that the land his family’s cattle has grazed on for generations may soon be off limits and that the landscape he has spent his entire life working may be inexorably changed. “I think this land should have stayed open to everyone and not be regulated by the federal government,” Johnson told Obama’s designation late last month of Bears Ears and Gold Butte as national monuments – along with his recent ban on oil drilling in federal waters in the Atlantic and Arctic Oceans – have earned the outgoing president the praise of both environmental groups and Native American groups as he secures his environmental legacy...more

With respect to livestock grazing in the Gold Butte National Monument, there is no debate. The proclamation states:

Livestock grazing has not been permitted in the monument area since 1998 and the Secretary shall not issue any new grazing permits or leases on lands within the monument.

It doesn't matter what studies say, what the eventual plan says, or what the protection of certain objects entail. The Secretary shall not issue  is pretty definitive.

1 comment:

Floyd said...

Shall not issue "new" permits is pretty clear except for the part in Section 2 of the Antiquities Act that allows the feds to accept "unperfected claims" when relinquished by owners within the designated area. The alternative is condemnation through eminent domain of those existing property rights and until that is done the monuments are failing to limit designation to just the federal enclave and hopefully won't stand up to scrutiny in court.