Thursday, March 30, 2017

Nearly doubling Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument sets up battle

by Mateusz Perkowski
Capital Press

To rancher Lee Bradshaw, the presidential order nearly doubling the size of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument was both shocking and predictable. Ever since the original 53,000 acres of public land were designated as a monument in 2000, there had been whispers about enlarging it. Even so, the announcement during the final days of President Barack Obama’s administration in early 2017 appeared rushed to Bradshaw, particularly since a handful of meetings held about the expansion were more about creating hype than seeking public input, he said. “I knew it was coming our way, but it was unexpected about the way they did it,” Bradshaw said. With the federal government adding 47,000 acres to the monument, the ranching and timber industries in Southern Oregon are bracing for the worst. Critics of the monument say they’ve seen the economic damage caused by the original designation, leading them to expect similar restrictions on grazing and logging within the expanded boundary. “Through no fault of their own, their operations are in jeopardy,” said John O’Keeffe, president of the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association. This time, though, the timber industry and county governments are spearheading a legal battle against the monument expansion, arguing the federal government lacks the authority to restrict logging on much of the newly included property. If the litigation proves successful in scaling back the monument’s size, it would also effectively thwart potential restrictions on cattle grazing. Although inclusion in the monument doesn’t automatically prohibit grazing — as it does most commercial logging — critics say ranchers will inevitably face increased scrutiny and curtailments. “Even though the language of the proclamation says grazing can continue, they just regulate you out of business,” said Karen Budd-Falen, an attorney specializing in public land disputes. Under the original Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument proclamation issued by President Bill Clinton, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management had to analyze whether grazing interferes with “protecting the objects of biological interest.” If necessary, the agency was ordered to retire allotments. In 2008, the study found “negative interactions between livestock and individual biological objects of interest,” meaning that grazing was “not compatible” with their protection in some locations. This determination convinced Mike Dauenhauer and several other ranchers to sell their grazing rights to environmental groups for an undisclosed amount...more

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