New Grazing Fee Calculations?


The following is a press release from the Montana Farm Bureau Federation.

The Montana Farm Bureau Federation (MFBF) is one of twenty-seven national and state organizations who have sought to intervene in a lawsuit filed by environmental groups that could kill livestock grazing on federal lands in the American West. The Mountain States Legal Foundation (MSLF), a defender of grazing rights since 1977, filed their motion with the federal district court for the District of Columbia where five environmental groups filed their lawsuit against the BLM and Forest Service in June 2010. The lawsuit seeks a court order requiring the agencies to consider new regulations on how the grazing fee is calculated and to perform environmental impact analysis under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) prior to calculating grazing fees each year.  

“The case is a clever attempt to affect the more-than 20,000 federal grazing permittees in one case,” notes Montana Farm Bureau President Bob Hanson. “The effort seems to be to get this administration to issue a new grazing fee regulation, and simultaneously greatly burden the agencies with annual NEPA duties that they have not had to face in the past.

Grazing fees are paid by every federal lands livestock permittee on BLM land, National Forests, and National Grasslands.  Attempts have been made over the decades to change the fee in Congress but those efforts have been defeated.  The plaintiffs now appear to seek those same goals through litigation and the use of two procedural statutes, NEPA and the Administrative Procedures Act.

 “Since the Taylor Grazing Act was voted on in 1934, federal agencies have issued permits to graze animals for annual payment of reasonable fees for a set amount of time to ‘stabilize the livestock industry upon public range,’ ” notes Hanson. “If you have to do an EIS for every lease, it will be cost prohibitive. In a state so laden with public lands, this would be economically devastating to the cattle industry in Montana.”

MSLF President William Perry Pendley notes, “Environmental groups have long opposed any activity that pre-dates the arrival of western civilization in the American West, to wit, grazing on federal lands. They think they have found the mechanism to kill that activity. We intend to stop them.”


Source:  MFBF

Posted by Haylie Shipp


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