Barrasso bill aimed at preserving grazing rights moves forward

Barrasso bill aimed at preserving grazing rights moves forward

Senate Energy Committee passes Barrasso bill to extend grazing permits and deliver certainty and stability to Wyoming’s ranching families.

WASHINGTON, DC –Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), praised the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee’s passage of S. 258, The Grazing Improvement Act. Barrasso’s bill provides greater certainty and stability to the livestock grazing community in the face of constant environmental legal challenges.

“For too long, ranching families have dealt with uncertainty and been the target of anti-grazing litigation that puts their much needed grazing permits in jeopardy,” said Barrasso.  “My bill will streamline the permitting process and protect Wyoming’s livestock producers, their jobs and their ability to provide for our communities and our nation.  Now, I’m going to push for the Senate to pass this bill immediately and finally give America’s hard working ranching families the certainty and stability they need.”

Background

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S. 258, The Grazing Improvement Act, was introduced by Senator Barrasso on February 7, 2013 and is co-sponsored by Senators Mike Crapo (R-ID), Mike Enzi (R-WY), Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Dean Heller (R-NV), John Hoeven (R-ND), Mike Lee (R-UT) and Jim Risch (R-ID).

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 required environmental analysis due to the backlog of lawsuits filed by environmentalists intended to delay the permitting process.  For over a decade, grazing permit holders and public land management agencies have relied on Congress to temporarily grant continued use of 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 more flexibility with categorical exclusions and other needed reforms to grazing permits.

In May 2011, Senator Barrasso originally introduced the Grazing Improvement Act.