Idaho First District Congressman Raúl Labrador reintroduced today the Grazing Improvement Act, an important jobs and public lands bill from the previous 112th Congress.
"I am pleased to reintroduce important legislation which would help ranchers in Idaho and across America," said Congressman Labrador. "This bill will add more stability and production security to ranchers in Idaho because it streamlines the permitting process to access public lands. Ranchers in my state of Idaho have said that if they were to lose their grazing permit then they would have to subdivide their land. I cannot allow this to happen to Idaho family ranches. This is the kind of sensible, red tape cutting reform we need for our ranchers to stay in business and grow our economy more quickly."
Owyhee County Idaho Rancher Brenda Richards, Public Lands Council Vice President and National Cattlemen's Beef Association member, commented on the bill: "Operations like ours are the backbone and the main economic drivers of many rural communities. The Grazing Improvement Act as introduced by Congressman Labrador would add certainty to the grazing permit system and decrease the risk of losing access to lands where our families have grazed livestock for generations, benefiting the environment and enhancing wildlife habitat. The Grazing Improvement Act will help to ensure the continued success of our families, the foundation of a healthy, working landscape in the West."
The Grazing Improvement Act enjoys bipartisan support. It is co-sponsored by Mike Simpson (R-ID), Jim Costa (D-CA), Mark Amodei (R-NV), Paul Gosar (R-AZ), Tom McClintock (R-CA), Kristi Noem (R-SD), Glenn Thompson (R-PA), Scott Tipton (R-CO) and Greg Walden (R-OR). If enacted, it would provide several important tools for easing access to public lands for American ranchers. Specifically, the bill would:
Extend Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and Forest Service livestock grazing permits from 10 years to 20 years in order to give producers adequate longevity and production stability;
Codify appropriation rider language to require expired grazing permits to be extended under existing terms and conditions until the renewal process is complete;
Encourage the respective Secretaries to utilize categorical exclusions under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process to expedite permit processing; and
Allow trailing permits to be categorically excluded from NEPA.
During the 112th Congress in June 2012, this bill passed the U.S. House of Representatives on a bipartisan vote of 232-188.