Arizona rancher David Cook is calling on Congress to remove layers of red tape and federal bureaucracy that have made it much harder to effectively manage and care for public lands. He testified this week before the U.S. House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations. Cook told lawmakers he doesn’t believe it was the intent of Congress to disenfranchise communities like his when it enacted the Federal Land Policy and Management Act and the Wilderness Act, but that’s exactly what happened. “The burden of compliances with these regulations, plus the struggle to get our voices heard as stakeholders have become the dominant consumer of time and resources,” he said, “for anyone or entity interacting with federally-managed lands.” Cook and his wife, Diana, own DC Cattle Company and partner with other ranches in their local county. The agreement between the entities covers 4,800 square miles, but less than five percent of that is deeded as private lands. Cook says the delegation of authority from Congress to land management agencies has resulted in unchecked authority over land-use planning and has been abused by administrators and capitalized on by environmental groups through continuous litigation.
From the National Association of Farm Broadcasting news service.