Date: Wed, 03 Mar 2004 13:52:09 -0500
News >From Representative Raśl M. Grijalva
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 3, 2004 Sarah Moore (Shays)
Natalie Luna (Grijalva)
Shays and Grijalva: Proposed Grazing Regulations Will Do More Harm Than Good
Washington, D.C. -- Joined by 28 other Members of Congress, Congressmen Christopher Shays (R-CT) and Raśl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) today sent a letter to Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton expressing concern about proposed changes to commercial livestock grazing on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands.
The proposed regulations would reduce public participation in grazing permit and lease renewals and other decisions affecting public lands, and give ranchers property rights to improvements made on public lands, which are often paid for with taxpayer dollars. The proposed rules would also inhibit the BLM's ability to act on environmental abuses on public grazing lands for seven years or more.
Grijalva stated, "The BLM's proposed changes are a step backwards in an already contentious debate regarding public lands grazing in the Southwest. By limiting the public's ability to be involved in the decisions on public lands, the administration belies its so-called 4C's approach: consultation, cooperation, communication, in the service of conservation."
"One wonders why these 4C's don't seem to apply to the public at large, and instead to just a select few, when the issue concerns publicly-owned lands. The Department of the Interior changes will do nothing to solve, and will instead exacerbate, the challenges posed by public lands grazing," he continued.
Shays said, "The bottom line is, we do not support limiting BLM's authority to penalize permittees and lessees, who violate federal environmental protection laws. These lands belong to everyone and it is important that they be well protected for future generations."
The letter concluded by urging Secretary Norton to revisit the proposed rules and consider market-based solutions, such as federally-funded voluntary buyouts of grazing permits and leases, to address the challenges posed by public lands grazing.