Western ranchers welcomed a Bureau of Land Management Notice of Intent (NOI), which appeared in last week’s Public Inspection and will publish in the Federal Register on Jan. 21, announcing that the agency is preparing an Environmental Impact Statement on new grazing regulations. The NOI opened a public comment period and announced that in-person scoping meetings will be held across the West.
“This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for BLM permittees to set the record straight,” said Dr. J.J. Goicoechea who chairs the NCBA Federal Lands Committee and PLC’s Grazing Regulations Working Group. “We have endured 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 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 rulemaking, the BLM seeks to improve existing land use planning and grazing permitting procedures while simultaneously promoting conservation on public lands.
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 7 days in advance through local media, newspapers and the BLM website. Ranchers are encouraged to participate in these meetings and submit their comments during this EIS process. Comments will be accepted now through March 6, 2020.
Public Open Houses
The BLM will be holding a series of four public scoping open houses from 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Those meetings will be held in the following locations:
- Feb 6 — Miles City, Montana at the Sleep Inn and Suites
- Feb 11 — Las Cruces, New Mexico at the Ramada Palms Hotel
- Feb 18 — Elko, Nevada at the Elko Convention Center
- Feb 20 — Casper, Wyoming at the Casper Event Center