Cattle and sheep producers warned Congress that environmental laws are increasingly being misused by fringe activist groups and pose a growing threat to grazing on federal lands.
The House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on the Interior, Energy, and the Environment held a hearing. It was in response to mounting challenges faced by ranchers who graze livestock on federal lands and the opportunities for productive range management practices. All of the livestock groups present say that litigation through the National Environmental Policy Act and the Equal Access to Justice Act is now an unavoidable obstacle for ranchers seeking to put conservation benefits on the ground.
A major example in the sheep industry is the loss of grazing over conflicts with agenda-driven activists.
A Montana sheep producer testified that pathogen transmission concerns without scientific basis have been used to force a separation between domestic and bighorn sheep in the state. “Our reward for working with the state to introduce bighorn sheep has been three years costly federal litigation,” he says. “A loss in litigation means we won’t be able to graze lands we’ve used for multiple generations.”
Another major issue impacting farmers and ranchers across the country is misuse of the Endangered Species Act.
From the National Association of Farm Broadcasting News Service.