Our Views Columns

Our Views Columns

Date: 5/28/2015

Title: BLM and USFS Release Resource Management Plans for Sage Grouse

Today, the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service released their final environmental reviews for proposed land use plans for the greater sage grouse habitat on public lands across 10 western states.

Upon initial review of the resource management plans, the livestock industry is concerned the BLM and USFS have overstepped. Inclusion of one-size-fits-all requirements on how multiple uses, including livestock grazing, will be managed on public lands is not the answer to conserving sage grouse. The agencies have included legally questionable provisions in the Resource Management Plans which run contrary to what the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has requested for protecting the bird.

These plans are yet another example of the Administration targeting rural America in an attempt to appease radical preservationists in removing productive uses from the land. The Administration needs to realize that ranchers with public land grazing rights work daily to minimize the major threats to sage grouse; removing fine-fuels and providing vast tracts of open space. Wildfire and development are the primary threats to the sage grouse and their habitat, yet this Administration is systematically wiping out multiple-use and ranching through regulatory overreach.

The Public Lands Council and National Cattlemen's Beef Association call on the BLM to remove these inflexible and arbitrary buffer zone and stubble height requirements and discontinue the idea that removing, reducing and retiring grazing is the answer to this and any other problem the agency faces on public lands.

We will continue to support legislative efforts that recognize the important role of the states and the livestock industry in managing the land effectively for sage grouse and continue working to block the regulatory overreach by the BLM and USFS through these Resource Management Plans.

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Kris Vincent
Ohio Rancher