[MCN] Public lands grazing

John Meyer john at cottonwoodlaw.org
Fri Jul 13 21:03:34 EDT 2018

Hey Missoula and Bozeman, 

There was a Congressional oversight hearing on public lands grazing <https://naturalresources.house.gov/calendar/eventsingle.aspx?EventID=405255> a few day ago. 

The Chairman of the Committee complained about the abandonment of "sound scientific land management decisions” by public lands agencies for “fear of endless frivolous lawsuits."

In contrast, I have attached a page from the EIS for the Beaverhead Deerlodge National Forest’s Forest Plan in which Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks said that it would reintroduce bighorn sheep into the Gravelly Mountains if domestic sheep were not permitted to graze there. FN 1.  Cottonwood is asking the Ninth Circuit to enjoin the sheep grazing for that reason. 

Congresswoman Tsongas noted (at 3:50) that the BLM and FS spent $135.9 million on grazing management in 2016, but only collected $26.5 million in grazing fees. That is a loss of $109.4 million to taxpayers.

If you see Tester, Daines, or Gianforte I’ll buy you a cup of coffee if you ask them this $109.4 million question:

Should the Forest Service and BLM authorize livestock grazing on public lands when it does not make biological or economic sense?

Footnote 1: Domestic sheep carry fatal diseases that are easily transmitted to bighorn sheep. At least one bighorn sheep was found dead on a domestic sheep allotment in the Gravelly Mountains of the Beaverhead Deerlodge National Forest.  

John Meyer
Executive Director & General Counsel 
Cottonwood Environmental Law Center
P.O. Box 412 Bozeman, MT 59771
John at Cottonwoodlaw.org
(406) 546-0149

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