Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Wyoming Stock Growers Fight Environmental Groups Intervention in Sage-Grouse Case

A Wyoming nonprofit association that began in 1872 and represents over 1,000 beef cattle producers today opposed entry of environmental groups in its challenge to plans by federal officials to change the management of federal lands in Wyoming and to extort actions of all third parties who use those lands ostensibly to aid the greater sage-grouse. With Mountain States Legal Foundation (MSLF) as counsel, the Wyoming Stock Growers Association (WSGA) filed a petition in Wyoming federal district court in October of 2015 and named federal departments and agencies, including the Department of the Interior, and their top officials. Although the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) declined to list the sage-grouse as endangered or threatened in Wyoming and elsewhere, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and U.S. Forest Service, which manage federal land in the Mountain West for “multiple use” purposes, including grazing, adopted new plans as to how those lands are to be managed. Wyoming ranchers believe the plans will constrain use of those lands, are unnecessary, and violate federal law because they are arbitrary and capricious. “Fifteen months ago, our client challenged the government’s sage-grouse land use plans because of the adverse effect of their livestock grazing restrictions. Now environmental groups seek to intervene in this lawsuit purportedly to defend these plans due to the recent change in the administration. This they may not do,” said William Perry Pendley, MSLF president...more

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