Western Watersheds Project News Release
July 12, 2006
Jon Marvel: 208-788-2290
Laird Lucas: 208-424-1466.
WESTERN WATERSHEDS PROJECT SUES TO STOP NEW BLM REGULATIONS
THAT GIVE AWAY CONTROL OVER PUBLIC LANDS TO RANCHERS
Western Watersheds Project – the nation’s leading conservation group working to protect fish and wildlife from livestock grazing throughout the West – is asking a federal court to stop BLM from adopting new grazing regulations that give away control of public lands to ranchers.
On the same day that BLM announced the new regulations, Western Watersheds filed motions in U.S. District Court in Boise (Case No. 05-297) asking for an injunction to stop them from taking effect, because BLM is violating several federal laws. These include the National Environmental Policy Act, the Endangered Species Act, and the Federal Land Policy and Management Act.
“BLM’s new grazing regulations will give up control over millions of acres of our public lands to ranchers,” said WWP Executive Director Jon Marvel.
“Under the new regulations, BLM is allowing ranchers to dictate terms of grazing while excluding the public,” said WWP’s lead attorney, Laird Lucas, “and the result will be widespread harm to fish and wildlife due to overgrazing.”
Lucas added that many biologists and other experts – including with BLM – had warned the agency that the new regulations would have “serious, long-term adverse effects” for wildlife and fish, but BLM has refused to heed their advice.
“BLM actually changed the analysis of its own experts, to claim the regulations will benefit wildlife, when the experts said just the opposite.” Lucas noted that one of BLM’s experts, Erick Campbell (now retired from the agency), had provided a declaration to the Court confirming that BLM changed his analysis.
“Our public lands are required to be managed to support many different uses, including hunting, fishing and recreation,” said WWP’s Marvel, “but BLM’s plans will mean that ranchers can now override those uses. Not only does that violate federal law, but it is dishonest for BLM to pretend these regulations will not harm fish and wildlife. The American public deserves an honest explanation as well as compliance with our laws.”