Now Is Your Chance
Published on Feb. 15, 2020
If your livestock graze on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands during the year, you have the opportunity to help yourself in doing business with the BLM.
As federal lands grazers, we realize for the last 26 years or so, the regulations to graze livestock on BLM lands, or any federal lands, has become increasingly difficult. It depends on what BLM state, district or field office you work with. It could be a difficult experience with the regulations for both the BLM personnel and livestock owners.
Since President Trump has been in office, he has appointed some great leaders to the Department of Interior and they have appointed good people in the national BLM office. President Trump has listened to both the Public Land Council (PLC) and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) along with western states’ Congressional members and staffs on what to do in regard to grazing regulations in the West. A number of these appointees have come from the West and they know their business and the cumbersome grazing regulations permitees have had to deal with.
Now, the BLM has scheduled four scoping meetings in the western states for grazing permittees to provide comments on how to best change the current regulations. One of which is in Casper on Feb. 20 at the Casper Events Center from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. These meetings are a notice of intent to prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) for the proposed revision of grazing regulations for BLM public lands.
The purpose of the public scoping process is to determine relevant issues that will influence the scope of the EIS, including alternatives and guide the process for developing the EIS. The BLM is also seeking views from the public and the regulations concerning historic properties.
The BLM wants to update and modernize the regulations, improve permitting efficiency, promote land health, particularly through finding ways to use livestock grazing to reduce wildfire risks and improve rangeland conditions and how the BLM can ensure adequate participation of all of the stakeholders without unduly burdening administrative processes.
The Trump administration is also trying to revise the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Both the revised NEPA and grazing regulations will certainly get attention of environmental groups and the usual ones will go to court to stop the process.
At the Casper meeting, you will have the opportunity to fill out a comment card or computers should be available for longer form comments.
You can also mail in your comments to BLM, Attn: Seth Flanigan, 3948 S. Development Ave., Boise, ID 83705.
As Kaitlynn Glover, executive director of Public Lands Council said, “The important thing to remember for your postcard or longer written comments is that you provide personal examples and emphasize all of the benefits of livestock grazing. This process is to provide a large number of personal stories to show the importance of improving the regulations. The more substantive formal written comments will come from our state livestock and public lands associations.”
We all need, one way or another, to get our personal comments to the BLM, as the other side will have their members sending in their comments and they will be blasting us, our livestock and the good care we take of the BLM lands. It is not a choice to get comments in, it is an opportunity.