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Setback for Grazing Rights

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Anonymous

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Judge orders halt in grazing at Jarbidge


By MICHELLE DUNLOP - Times-News writer
Tuesday, August 2, 2005 2:23 PM PDT



JARBIDGE - Livestock grazing on roughly 800,000 acres of public lands in the Jarbidge area will come to a halt under an order issued Friday in federal court.

U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill of Idaho rendered his decision on a lawsuit brought by Western Watersheds Project against the U.S. Bureau of Land Management over the agency's handling of grazing permits for 28 allotments in the Jarbidge Resource Area.

The environmental group had claimed that the BLM violated federal policies as well as the agency's own guidelines when it increased grazing levels in the area - a move that compromises sage grouse and other wildlife habitat, Western Watersheds said.

"I think this is the first time a court has halted grazing because of its impact on sage grouse," said Laird Lucas, attorney for Western Watersheds Project. "I think the court is very clear that grazing needs to stop and to stop right now."

Affected livestock permitees could not be reached for comment. On Monday afternoon, BLM officials were unable to comment on Winmill's decision.

Earlier this year, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service decided not to list sage grouse under the Endangered Species Act. However, the species is still considered sensitive, Winmill said in his decision. Winmill noted that by BLM's own accounts, sage grouse numbers have declined dramatically in the Jarbidge Resource Area. The agency is bound by its own management plan to prioritize wildlife and watershed needs over that of allowing livestock use increases, Winmill said.


The judge took issue with the agency's increases of grazing permits on the 28 allotments. The BLM had argued that it increased grazing by only 8 percent. The agency, Winmill wrote, arrived at that number by comparing approved grazing levels with actual grazing levels from a previous year. Winmill, however, found the BLM's actions would increase grazing by 83 percent.

Winmill found the BLM's methods of analyzing rangeland health lacking. The agency has issued four environmental assessments examining just less than half of the 1.7 million acres of public lands in the Jarbidge Recreation Area. Each of the assessments looked at distant allotments, in a "patchwork-quilt manner," Winmill said. The BLM's "incremental allotment-by-allotment approach" leaves the agency unable to determine the environmental impact of increased grazing in light of the dramatic decline in sage grouse.

"That question cannot be answered because nobody has looked at the big picture here," Winmill said.

Therefore, Winmill ordered that the BLM prepare a comprehensive environmental impact statement before grazing can be considered again on the 28 allotments.
end.


I bet the Judge is a Clinton appointee.
 

pointrider

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I don't believe the judge is the main problem. I made posts on here way back before the format of this chat room was changed to the effect that Jon Marvel and his Western Watersheds Project is the big challenge for public lands grazing. He has stated that their goal is to get rid of grazing on all public lands. You know, "Welfare Ranching." They have big plans, and they won't go away anytime soon. They will use the ESA and any other law or regulation to accomplish their goal.
 
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Anonymous

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Yes Pointrider, I think you are right about John Marvel. It is dangerous when people that have cash, and people with Marvel's ideology meet. He has no reasoning or give in his thinking, and only wants ranchers off the public lands. Period. He would use any avenue possible to reach his goal. Sage Grouse just happen to be the tool here.

His kind are near to terrorists as far as I am concerned. They only want to inflict harm to a useful tool for the range, and stop legitimate business.

I should be outside getting something done, but we are actually getting a gentle slow rain here in NW SD this morning. Anyone that says the drought is over here is mistaken. Water holes are very low or dry, and we are up to about 6-7 inches of rain for the year, and our rainy season is mostly behind us on average.
 

rancher

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Jake, go back to the normal years and we used to always get wet falls. September and October used get the ground soaked up for a good spring. But then normal isn't normal anymore.
 
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Anonymous

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I remember a few wet falls for sure, but that has not been the normal lately.

How'd you fare. Get a shower over your way?
 
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Anonymous

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BLM orders ranchers to remove cows



Thursday, August 4, 2005 5:00 PM PDT



BOISE, Idaho (AP) - The U.S. Bureau of Land Management is telling ranchers to remove thousands of head of cattle from nearly a million acres of public land in southern Idaho after a federal judge found the agency addressed environmental impacts from grazing in a "patchwork-quilt manner."

"We are working with ranchers to discuss how to implement the judge's order, which necessitates the removal of the livestock," Cheryle Zwang, Idaho BLM spokeswoman, said Wednesday. "We don't know if it's going to be under appeal, but we are trying to comply with the order."

U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill ruled last week in favor of conservationists who had sued BLM, arguing the agency violated federal regulations when it authorized increased grazing in the Jarbidge Resource Area, an expanse of rangeland southwest of Twin Falls that stretches to the state's southern border with Nevada.

Winmill ruled approximately 800,000 acres of the 1.7 million-acre resource area is no longer open to livestock grazing because BLM did not adequately determine the impact to sage grouse habitat in the 28 livestock grazing allotments that are authorized for use by 11 ranchers or permit holders.

The judge wrote that BLM's examination of increased grazing impacts on just half of the 1.7 million acres through an "incremental allotment-by-allotment approach" did not give the bureau enough data to determine whether more cattle would accelerate the decline of sage grouse numbers in the area.

"That question cannot be answered because nobody has looked at the big picture here," Winmill wrote.


He ordered a halt to all livestock grazing on the allotments until BLM completes a full-fledged environmental impact statement that looks at the overall impact of increased grazing in the Jarbidge on sage grouse habitat and populations.

Lloyd Knight of the Idaho Cattle Association said ranchers are scrambling to find ways of feeding herds that would normally pasture through the summer on the public lands now declared off-limits.

"Obviously, they are very disappointed by the decision, very frustrated," said Knight.

But conservationists said BLM should have done a better job of analyzing potential impacts to rangeland health and sage grouse numbers before approving more cattle to graze the range.



"We aren't putting ma and pa rancher out of business here," said Katie Fite of the Hailey-based Western Watersheds Project, which brought the suit against BLM last year in U.S. District Court. "It's in the long-term interest of everybody that the lands in the Jarbidge have healthy sagebrush and wildlife on them."

The BLM had argued it only increased grazing levels on the Jarbidge allotments by 8 percent, but Winmill said the agency actually had boosted grazing by 83 percent this season.

If BLM does not appeal Winmill's ruling, it could take more than a year before an environmental impact statement on grazing in the Jarbidge would be completed and a new grazing allocation decision issued, barring any further administrative appeals.

"I am deeply concerned about the effects of this court order on the livelihood of these livestock operators," K. Lynn Bennett, BLM director for Idaho, said in a statement. end

"We aren't putting ma and pa rancher out of business here," said Katie Fite of the Hailey-based Western Watersheds Project

That last sentence shows their deceit and their eliteist thinking. What are the ranchers just gonna take their stock home and run them on water and scenery for the rest of the season? :mad: :mad: :mad: :mad: :mad:
 
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Anonymous

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In a lot of cases, I think the BLM gets a bad rap, as I have been told by several ranchers that have big allotments that the BLM wants to do what's best, but these fringe groups tie their hands.

Some of the states that have large federal holdings still seem to realize that ranchers doing business on government lands are whats in their best interest.
 

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