Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) re-introduced legislation that provides greater certainty and stability to the livestock grazing community in the face of constant environmental legal challenges.
"Wyoming's ranchers are proud and responsible environmental stewards of the land. Yet, many hard working ranching families are routinely attacked by extreme anti-grazing, pro-litigation groups. These endless lawsuits, aimed at eliminating livestock from public lands, overwhelm the permitting process and hurt ranchers by jeopardizing much needed grazing permits. My bill will give our ranching communities the certainty and stability they need by extending permits and preserving grazing rights. It will keep Wyoming's livestock producers on the land and in business," said Barrasso.
The "Grazing Improvement Act" (S. 258) helps ranching communities by preserving the use of livestock grazing permits. It allows the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and Forest Service to continue issuing grazing permits while required environmental analysis is pending. The Act would also extend grazing permit terms from 10 to 20 years before requiring renewal.
The "Grazing Improvement Act" is co-sponsored by Senators Mike Crapo (R-ID), Mike Enzi (R-WY), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Dean Heller (R-NV), Mike Lee (R-UT), and Jim Risch (R-ID).
Under current law, livestock grazing permits are valid for 10 years. After 10 years, new environmental analysis is required before a permit can be renewed.
However, agencies cannot complete the required environmental analysis due to the backlog of lawsuits filed by extreme environmentalists intended to delay the permitting process. For over a decade, grazing permit holders and public land management agencies have relied on Congress to temporarily grant continued use of grazing permits every year.
The "Grazing Improvement Act" fixes this by allowing the BLM and Forest Service to continue issuing grazing permits while an environmental analysis is being completed. It also provides more flexibility with categorical exclusions and other needed reforms to grazing permits.
In May 2011, Senator Barrasso originally introduced the "Grazing Improvement Act."