U.S. Senators Mike Crapo and Jim Risch are once again co-sponsoring legislation to provide more stability for those who use livestock grazing permits. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) introduced the Grazing Improvement Act (S. 258) on Thursday.
"Ranchers are some of Idaho's strongest stewards for maintaining the health of our public lands," said Crapo. "Litigation over grazing permits has reached the point where federal agencies cannot always get the work done to process the permits. Ranchers, and all users of our public lands, deserve the certainty that the licensing process should provide, while improving the environmental integrity of the land. This legislation will help accomplish those objectives."
"This is important legislation to the ranching families of Idaho--many who have been doing this for generations and want to hand it down to the next generation. This legislation provides certainty for ranchers. It will keep groups who don't like grazing from crushing the renewal process with lawsuits," said Risch.
The legislation will provide the following improvements:
Extends Bureau of Land Management and Forest Service Livestock grazing permits from 10 to 20 years for permits that have been completed under the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA);
Codifies appropriation rider language that requires grazing permits to be renewed under existing terms and conditions until the renewal process is complete;
Allows the department secretary to issue a categorical exclusion under NEPA if the decision by the agency is to continue grazing management under the permit; and
Codifies appropriation language that allows the appropriate secretary to set the priority and timing for environmental analysis regarding grazing permit renewal.
Along with Crapo and Risch, the Grazing Improvement Act is also co-sponsored by Mike Enzi (R-WY), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Mike Lee (R-UT) and Dean Heller (R-NV).