The original version of this column appeared in the July editions of New Mexico Stockman and the Livestock Market Digest.
I don't have the column-type space limitations placed on me here, so the following is a further discussion of the anti-grazing language in the OMDP Proclamation.
Laws, regulations, and policies followed by the BLM in issuing and administering grazing permits or leases on lands under its jurisdiction shall continue to apply with regard to the lands in the monument, consistent with the protection of the objects identified above.
This “consistency” phrase sets up a two-tiered management system, where other uses (such as wildlife, recreation, science, etc.) are the dominant use and livestock grazing is the subservient use. If a rancher wants to maintain an existing range improvement or continue a current management practice and it is determined to be not consistent, that maintenance or current management practice will be denied or not be allowed. The same would hold true for constructing a new range improvement, as livestock grazing is no longer on an equal footing with other uses.
The environmental community wanted this new language in the Proclamation, as they have not had the success they had hoped for in filing lawsuits against livestock grazing in National Monuments.
Who is responsible for this anti-grazing language? Look no further than Senators Udall and Heinrich. Six months prior to President Obama signing the OMDP Proclamation, they introduced the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks Conservation Act, and therein you will find the “consistency” phrase.
To demonstrate just how anti-grazing the OMDP language is, let’s compare it to a Proclamation signed by President Obama a year later. The Proclamation for the 700,000-acre Basin and Range National Monument in Nevada reads:
Nothing in this proclamation shall be deemed to affect authorizations for livestock grazing, or administration thereof, on Federal lands within the monument. Livestock grazing within the monument shall continue to be governed by laws and regulations other than this proclamation.
The language is clear and precise that the designation does not affect the administration of livestock grazing, and results in livestock grazing being on an equal footing with other uses.
In the New Mexico monument, grazing is subservient to all the other objects to be protected, while in Nevada the monument designation has no affect on grazing. How can this be? Where is the “consistency” in that? Why are ranchers in one state treated differently than ranchers in a similar situation in another state? The NM ranchers should not be singled out and discriminated against and President Trump can remedy this by revising the NM Proclamations accordingly.