Online Messenger #252
Last week, Ken Cole visited Washington, D.C. as part of a Sierra Club sponsored lobbying event to visit with House and Senate staff about the benefits of the Rural Economic Vitalization Act (HR2201) and the dangers of the Grazing Improvement Act (HR657 and S258).
The Rural Economic Vitalization Act would provide authorization for grazing permit buyouts on Federal public lands and allow a market-based solution for conflicts between livestock grazing and wildlife. The bill was introduced by Representative Adam Smith of Washington State and has received a number of co-sponsors in the US House of Representatives.
The Grazing Improvement Act (GIA), which should be named the Grazing Entrenchment Act, has been introduced in both the House by Representative Raul Labrador (R-ID) and the Senate by Senator John Barrasso (R-WY). The GIA would double the length of current 10 year grazing leases to 20 years hampering Western Watersheds Project’s capacity to change managment of public lands. The GIA would also reduce the public’s ability to participate in the grazing permit renewal process and the associated environmental review. The bill would also allow the agencies to renew permits without conducting rangeland health assessments. Passage of this bill would further imperil sage grouse and push them closer to listing as an endangered species.
Ken happened to run into Congressman Raul Grijalva who very graciously complimented Western Watersheds Project’s work and thanked us for endorsing his bid to become the Ranking Democrat on the House Natural Resources Committee.
Western Watersheds Project has visited Washington, D.C. for the last three years to galvanize support for grazing buyout legislation in Congress. In addition to these visits, WWP Public Policy Consultant Josh Osher continues to speak with public officials about the importance of our public lands for imperiled wildlife and the damaging effects of livestock grazing. Josh will be returning to D.C. later this month in that effort.
Western Watersheds Project appreciates the Sierra Club’s support of this work. WWP is dedicated to finding rational political solutions that benefit our lands and wildlife across the West.