The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is soliciting public comments for the preparation of an environmental document under the National Environmental Policy Act prior to making an amendment to the grazing regulation for public lands. The BLM notice of intent (NOI) opened a public comment period and noted that in-person scoping meetings will be held across the West.
The BLM grazing regulations, which govern approximately 155 million acres in the western U.S., have been periodically modified, revised and updated over time. The last comprehensive revisions to BLM grazing regulations that were implemented occurred in 1995.
The current grazing regulations require revisions to update, modernize and streamline the grazing administration regulations and provide greater flexibility for land and resource management. Through this rule-making, BLM seeks to improve existing land use planning and grazing permitting procedures while simultaneously promoting conservation on public lands.
“This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for BLM permittees to set the record straight,” said Dr. J.J. Goicoechea, who chairs the National Cattlemen’s Beef Assn. Federal Lands Committee and the Public Lands Council’s Grazing Regulations Working Group. “We have endured [former Interior Secretary] Bruce Babbitt’s ‘Range Reform’ for over 25 years — and the land, native grasses and local ranching families have suffered as a result. This NOI is the first step toward righting that wrong. I cannot understate how important it is for ranchers to submit comments and participate in these scoping meetings.”
The public comment period closes 15 days after the conclusion of the final public scoping meeting. The dates and locations of scoping meetings will be announced at least seven days in advance through local media, newspapers and the BLM website. Public open houses are planned in Miles City, Mont.; Elko, Nev.; Las Cruces, N.M., and Casper, Wyo. Ranchers are encouraged to participate in these meetings and submit their comments during this environmental impact statement process.
Comments will be accepted now through March 6, 2020.