Grazing Act Passes
by U.S. Senator John Barrasso (press release)
December 22, 2014
U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) announced his Grazing Improvement Act was included in a public lands package in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that passed the Senate. The House of Representatives passed the NDAA on December 4, 2014 and the bill was signed by the President on Friday. Barrasso’s Grazing Improvement Act provides greater certainty and stability to the livestock grazing community. It allows the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the Forest Service to continue issuing grazing permits while an environmental analysis is being completed.
"Livestock grazing on public lands has a strong tradition in Wyoming and in the West. For too long, our ranching families have been the target of anti-grazing litigation that puts their grazing permits in jeopardy," said Barrasso. "By streamlining the permitting process, my bill will finally give Wyoming’s ranching families, and the local communities they support, the stability they need to keep their operations running strong."
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 backlog of required environmental analysis due to lawsuits filed by extreme environmentalists intended to delay the permitting process. In September, the BLM had a backlog of approximately 5600 permits in need of renewal. For over a decade, grazing permit holders and public land management agencies have relied on Congress to temporarily grant the continued use of these 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 the land management agencies with more flexibility concerning the priority and timing for completion of environmental analysis, issuing grazing permits, and other needed reforms.