Current Edition

current edition

April 18, 2017

Dear Secretary Zinke,

I write today to express my concern with the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) guidance for livestock grazing management related to Approved Resource Management Plan Amendments (ARMPAs). The current approach to Greater sage grouse management has the potential for a negative impact on Wyoming. Wyoming agriculture and Greater sage grouse management have a symbiotic relationship. They should not work in opposition.

Viable ranching operations in Wyoming provide one of our most important assets – open, unoccupied space. This space allows for open landscapes, recreational opportunities, clean air and water, food production and intact ecosystems. The Greater sage grouse thrives here in great part because of our agricultural operations. Livestock grazing on public lands and flexible livestock grazing are necessary for viable ranching operations. Flexibility benefits agriculture and Greater sage grouse habitat conservation.

I have worked to conserve Greater sage grouse habitat and to prevent an Endangered Species listing. Wyoming’s Greater Sage Grouse Core Area Protection strategy is based on the principle that conservation of important Greater sage grouse habitat and development of resources are not mutually exclusive. Wyoming’s strategy addresses grazing management and recognizes a process to deal with improper grazing practices that might impair Greater sage grouse habitat. BLM adopted this concept in its ARMPAs. Despite repeated attempts by the State of Wyoming, local governments and producer groups such as the Wyoming Stock Growers Association, to resolve issues with BLM guidance, concerns with consistency remain. Consistency exists between the ARMPAs and Wyoming’s strategy, but guidance does not provide the necessary elements to make it consistent with these same documents.

BLM lacks guidance that recognizes the relationship between proper grazing practices and Greater sage grouse conservation. My concerns have not been addressed in existing guidance and are not covered by your planned re-evaluation of mitigation policies under Secretarial Order 3349. Clear guidance is needed to address livestock grazing on federal lands. For example, seasonal habitat objectives could be applied as standards. As a result of the lack of guidance on this issue, BLM might, for example, use a one-time measurement of stubble height to determine if an objective is met and treat a failure to meet that objective as a reason to change livestock grazing permit terms and conditions. This example would be unjustified and not based on reason or science. Addressing this concern and others like it through guidance will assure management isn’t done to the detriment of Greater sage grouse and agriculture.

I ask that you work with local producers and local and state governments in evaluating guidance for Greater sage grouse management. Our local producers understand the areas they operate on and should be consulted.

If I can be of assistance, please contact me.

Sincerely,

Matthew H. Mead,

Wyoming Governor

An open letter to Wyoming seniors and their loved ones:

It has come to my attention that certain groups or entities have been using my name to try and get donations from seniors. Some of these solicitations imply that folks won’t get their Social Security benefits unless they pay $10 and sign a petition addressed to me.

These letters are misleading and aim to prey on those who are vulnerable and worried. No one has to pay anyone in order to share their views with me, and these professional petition organizers are not as effective as they may claim.

I am working to make sure Social Security benefits remain available for the future to the hard-working Americans who have paid into the system and earned them. Signing a petition or sending money to an unknown agency will not affect your Social Security benefits. Reforming Social Security to make sure it remains solvent will.

I want to take this opportunity to remind everyone to remain wary of letters and calls from people you don’t know asking for money. I encourage everyone to contact my office directly if they have thoughts on legislation, or want to know my views on an issue.

My office number is 202-224-3424, or you can message me through enzi.senate.gov. You can also call any of my state offices, or make your views known to me by posting on my Facebook (@Mikeenzi) page, messaging me on Twitter (@SenatorEnzi), or even good old-fashioned mail at Senator Mike Enzi, United States Senate, Russell 379A, Washington, D.C. 20510.  It won’t cost you anything except a stamp.

Sincerely,

U.S. Senator Michael Enzi, R-Wyo.

To the Editor:

I speak as an alumnus of Casper College 34 years ago. It seems that the Board of Trustees has lost the vision of what a community college truly is. This college is for the community – and for all of the state of Wyoming, for that matter.

They apparently view themselves as a part of government more than as community leaders. This is made apparent in the grossly overinflated costs projected in $5 million facility upgrades and $5 million for the arena at the ranch campus. Within the college itself, there are courses taught in construction, electrical and welding. The students could perform a major portion of the upgrades with instructors overseeing the work, in addition to regular inspections to ensure compliance with building codes.

It appears that we have community support and County Commissioners’ support, and I’m sure the faculty at the college is up to the challenge. The only thing that remains is to get the Board of Trustees on board with this.

We are missing a wonderful opportunity for Casper College to utilize the community in the community college system. I hope the Board of Trustees recognizes this resource before they sell off this wonderful education opportunity and buying more land on a hill somewhere.

Sincerely,

Mike Cheser

Kaycee

Editor’s Note: This Feb. 22 letter is a response to the Colorado Cattlemen’s Association, Public Lands Council and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, released following letters on federal grazing allotments from PLC and a coalition of lawyers. The following letter was originally printed in “The Westerner” blog at thewesterner.blogspot.com.

Dear Colorado Cattlemen’s Association, Public Lands Council and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association,

It has just been brought to my attention that your organizations, the Public Lands Council (PLC), Colorado Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), filed a joint objection to my involvement with the Range Allotment Owners Association (RAO).

From my years and observation, I’d have to agree with your collective claim, “Public Lands Council is the only organization in Washington, D.C. who solely represents the 22,000 ranchers who operate on public lands.”

Please understand, though, that as a Range Allotment Owner, PLC doesn’t represent me. And because I couldn’t find an entity that does protect property right on range allotments, I helped co-found RAO.

RAO is only concerned about the property rights of range allotment owners. PLC represents ranchers on public lands. These two needs are wholly different.

I like to exercise in preventative maintenance by resolving situations before they get out of hand and end up in court. RAO is an essential form of preventative maintenance.

Due to the vast difference between RAO and PLC, it is my assessment that the PLC should be relieved they don’t have to add another department beyond their long-standing representation of the public on public lands.

Now you know why I enthusiastically co-founded the Range Allotment Owners Association. Thank you in advance for supporting my endeavor to protect my property rights on my range allotments.

Sincerely,

Charles W. Sylvester

Ranch Owner and retired general manager of the National Western Stock Show

LaSalle, Colo.